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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawCoronavirus (COVID-19): General Update on Thai Immigration Policy

Coronavirus (COVID-19): General Update on Thai Immigration Policy

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, this is a general update regarding Thai Immigration matters here in Thailand ss of roughly March 25th, 2020 in the midst of this Coronavirus or COVID-19 phenomenon that we are dealing with. 

I just want to go ahead and make this overview video. We are making a lot of other videos contemporaneously with this one so stay tuned to this channel as we get into more specific stuff some of which we will mentioned in this video, other things we will mention specifically in subsequent videos. There are many ramifications with respect to Thai Immigration as well as US Immigration and I am going to go through that accordingly. 

Also we have got some videos forthcoming which will discuss certain aspects of the Labour Code which could come into effect with respect to Coronavirus, especially pertaining to things like layoffs, staff resignations and work permit maintenance during this time period. This is a difficult time for everyone. We are trying to make as many relevant videos as we can. Hopefully they will provide some assistance to folks. We do understand that some of this information may go stale rather quickly and bear with us. We are trying to make these as quick as we can and get them out to you folks as quick as we can. We are doing the best we can as is I think everybody during this time period. 

So I have got a number of articles here. I am going to go through a number of the titles. The first one is from the Bangkok Post: Emergency Decree Coming Thursday. We are making this on Wednesday so I will get into that here in a minute. Further, 100 People Denied Entry to Thailand; that is again from the Bangkok Post, and from the thaiger.com9 Thai Airlines Stop Services During COVID-19 Crisis. Phuket News is reporting Phuket Immigration Confirms 500 Baht per Day Over Stay Fines

We have also got issues involving folks who are needing to extend their visas here in-country. There are protocols being put in place for folks who have been stranded; emergency protocols for emergency extensions. We will get into that in another video. Most importantly is this emergency decree. The article is titled: Emergency Decree Coming Thursday. Quoting directly: "The Government will declare an emergency and introduce new measures to combat the Coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19, on Thursday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday." We are dealing with this; we are kind of stuck in the middle here on Wednesday waiting to see what that is all about. We are making a video in detail on what I expect is going to happen as a result of this Emergency Decree. I will give you a hint in this video. I think we are looking at a full shutdown forthcoming. I don't know exactly what a full shutdown is going to look like. I do suspect essential services will be possible. I do suspect that there will be for example markets will remain open for food although it may be sort of us on a centralized basis.  Again that remains to be seen this. This I thought was very interesting. again Bangkok Post, The title is 100 People Denied Entry to Thailand. Quoting directly: "Airport Authorities blocked almost 100 travelers from entering Thailand with 73 of them being deported for not having enough special documents to meet special Immigration measures to combat the COVID-19 disease." As we have discussed in prior videos, the Immigration Authorities as well as the Civil Aeronautics Authority have implemented new policies regarding certification of medical fitness to fly as well as certification that one does not have COVID-19. Those have come down the pike. They are being implemented and we are now seeing that on the ground. Also it should be noted; I thought this was rather interesting. We have done a number videos regarding border checkpoints. Again from the same article. Quoting directly: "All border checkpoints have been temporarily closed though some were briefly reopened on Monday and Tuesday to allow throngs of migrant workers to return to their countries." 

Now as noted in videos regarding the border with Cambodia and Laos as well as a general video on these border closings, effectively visa runs are gone, border runs are gone. We are not going to be able to see that type of activity being utilized at least for the forthcoming days probably at least, I would foresee as at the time of this video at least two to three weeks where the borders are going to be shut. As noted in those prior videos, there appears to be at least one checkpoint along each border that is still being maintained as open but I think that this is for very rare circumstances, probably government-to-government type of things or really extreme situations as they noted where migrant workers were allowed to cross back and forth; so interesting.

Now as a practical matter, Immigration Policy is one thing but you have also got to be able to get on a plane if you want to fly into Thailand and it appears that a lot of the air travel into Thailand is going to be decreased substantially as well as trying to get out of Thailand and this is important as well. As a practical matter, we are seeing fewer flights to get out of Thailand. So, if you haven't gotten out and you plan to, it is probably a good idea to do that sooner rather than later. Again in a recent article from the, the article is titled:  9 Thai Airlines Stop Services During COVID-19 Crisis. Quoting directly: "Yesterday, Director-general Chula Sukmanop of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, CAAT, granted 9 airlines permission to halt their flights due to the COVID-19 situation. The airlines are: Thai Airways International, Thai Smile, Bangkok Airways, Thai AirAsia, Thai AirAsia X, Thai Lion Air, Nok Air, Nok Scoot, and Thai Vietjet.  So fewer and fewer airlines are maintaining normal operations as this thing is progressing.  Phuket Immigration is confirming over stay fines are still being levied. We are going to do a specific video on that so stay tuned to this channel. Yes, over stay fines are still being levied. Stay tuned to this channel for that. 

The thing to bear in mind with respect to this is we are kind of in a limbo situation at the time we are making this video. Things are still relatively operational although we are in what the Bangkok Governor is calling a soft shutdown; I think we are going to go into a harder lockdown here fairly shortly. If you are looking to get out of Thailand, it is probably a good time to go ahead and get out now if you are watching this; this should be out on Thursday. It probably will still be possible to get out on Thursday. Moving forward, especially with all these flights ceasing operations, all these regulations coming down the pike, I think it is a good idea to get out sooner rather than later because there may not be a way to get out for at least a couple of weeks when Thailand goes into a harder lockdown.