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Thailand Visa Amnesty Extension: What Is Going On?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the Thai Visa Amnesty Extension. 

I am making this video, and let me be clear, the question posed in the title "what is going on?" that is the same question I am asking myself. So let's start going through what we are reading here. 

So the Phuket News, that is, and this is the most recent thing that I have read: Visa Amnesty Extended to October 31 and this was at 4:55 p.m. on Monday September 28th. Quoting directly: "After weeks of foreigners scrambling to have their permits to stay extended by Immigration before the "Visa Amnesty deadline" expired on Saturday, September 26th, the Phuket News today was informed by the Prime Minister's Office that the Visa Amnesty has now been extended through to October 31st." Quoting further: "The news was delivered in a message sent directly to the Phuket news in Thai saying, and this is quoting: "As COVID-19 is still causing harm and there are many infections around the world, more than 30 million cases, some foreigners have to stay in Thailand and cannot travel out of the Kingdom of Thailand to go back to their home countries and they cannot follow section 35 and section 37 subsection 5, of the Immigration Act 2522 and other related laws legally extending their permits to stay before September 26th this year. So it has been agreed to announce that the Interior Ministry to use section 17 of the Immigration Act to extend the time for foreigners to follow section 35 and 37 subsection 5, by allowing them to stay as a special case from September 27th to October 31. Foreigners who are not able to travel out of Thailand and intended to stay after October 31 can go ask for an extension at Immigration for their permits to stay to expire October 31."  That was direct from what they were sent apparently. Final quotation: "However he added that he had yet to hear confirmation that the extension had been approved." and “he” is Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lieutenant Colonel Udom Thongchin. So that is where we are at; that is the best I can tell you. 

Now going back again. Another article: Phuket News, Overstay Fines to Start Tuesday says Phuket Immigration. Now this was done Monday, September 28th at 12:37 p.m. Quoting directly: "Any foreigners filing their application with Phuket Immigration to extend their stay today September 28th, will not be fined for overstay following the Visa Amnesty expiring September 26th, Phuket Immigration has confirmed". Then they go on to state that if you do go over that time period past today you will be subject to fines. So that seems to contradict what we have just been reading. 

Meanwhile from Coconuts, this is titled: Thai Immigration Unaware of Visa Amnesty Extension to Halloween. Quoting directly: "An Immigration Bureau Spokesman this morning said he had no knowledge of a leaked document purportedly showing that an Amnesty on Immigration laws could be extended until October 31. Well the look for Halloween could still be aliens waiting in long queues for valid papers. Spokesperson Chengron Rimpadee told Coconuts Bangkok that since Saturday only foreign nationals unable to fly home because their home borders remain closed or there are no flights, can be in the Kingdom legally”. So again Coconuts is saying Thai Immigration Unaware of Visa Amnesty Extensions to Halloween

Meanwhile, Khaosod English, this is September 28th, 2020 at 12:50 p.m. and this is the title: Police - Visa Amnesty Likely to be Extended till October 31. Quoting directly: "An Immigration Bureau Spokesman Monday that another round of Visa Amnesty for foreigners residing or stranded in Thailand due to the Coronavirus pandemic is very likely. The previous Amnesty extended back in April expired on Saturday. Spokesman Colonel Pakhapong Sai-ubol said by phone Monday that an extension from Sunday through October 31 should be officially announced within the week."  Well it hasn't yet. That is kind of where we are at. 

Further, here is the Thaiger. Quoting directly from an article titled: Update on Rumored Extension of Thailand's Visa Amnesty. Quoting directly: "There has been no confirmation of the rumor that was circulating earlier today. Some publications even said it was a done thing but that is not true. The latest developments.." and they get into Coconuts and Khaosod like I just did. The other thing to keep in mind is Richard Barrow on his Twitter feed went ahead and put up, there was apparently some leaked internal document that had yet to be signed regarding an extension. Where are we? 

Well as of the time of the filming of this video, nowhere particularly. The Amnesty extension if it is to happen has not happened and here is the more important thing from a legal standpoint. Unless this is affirmatively done, unless we see an affirmative announcement presumably in The Royal Gazette or something from Immigration directly, not officers being quoted in a non-official I should say not official capacity because they are officers, but not officers speculating about what they think but more accurately a direct announcement from the Thai Immigration apparatus, until we see something of that nature, the Immigration rules have not changed. The Amnesty was set to expire Saturday, September 26th. Without an affirmative extension from that date, they are expired. So until action occurs, there is no action; it just expires. So in point of fact, as of now it is expired. Again we are doing this Monday evening September 28th and there has been no affirmative announcement that they are extending status. Yes they can make an announcement later that goes retroactive but until they do that, this Amnesty is done and until we see something official, I think it is safe to presume that it is done. Now could they do something? Sure. Does it seem like they are? Possibly, but I haven't seen anything other than conjecture and we have seen conjecture in the past proved false, most notably back in July when Immigration Officers were saying "oh yeah, the Immigration Amnesty is definitely going to end". It turned out to be extended. So we could be in an opposite set of circumstances now where Officers are saying "oh yeah I think there is going to be an extension", and ultimately there isn't going to be one. 

So how this exactly plays out remains to be seen, but suffice it to say as of the time of the making and publication of this video, there has not been any affirmative announcement that the Amnesty is going to continue. Therefore without an affirmative announcement it should be presumed based on the fact that the other announcement clearly had a termination date, notably September 26th, without an affirmative announcement to the contrary the Amnesty is over.