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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawDenial of Entry to Thailand on Financial Grounds

Denial of Entry to Thailand on Financial Grounds

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we're going to be discussing Denial of Entry to Thailand; that is being denied at a border checkpoint either at an airport, seaport or land crossing into the Kingdom, in the specific context of finance.

This has come up in the last few years on a scale really unprecedented. We didn't used to see this finding being made very often and now it happens rather frequently. In fact it started back  around 2015, or late 2014, where reports were coming out especially down along the Southern border of Thailand, that those entering the Kingdom in Tourist Visa status, they were being asked to show they had money, either in cash or a bank account in Thailand or in a bank account elsewhere. They were being asked to show things like hotel bookings, accommodation bookings etc., and they were being turned away. There were people that were being turned away. 

Under what grounds were they being turned away? Well there is another video on this channel where I go into sort of general discretionary section of the Thai Immigration Act, specifically the Thai Immigration Act of BE 2522 which is the Buddhist Era; under the western calendar that is 1979. So this is the Act that we have been operating under in Thailand with respect to Immigration matters for some three or four decades now, almost 40 years. I don't see it changing anytime soon so an understanding of the basics of the Act can shine some light into conceptually understanding, under what grounds Thai Immigration Authorities can exclude people from entering the Kingdom.

So as noted in another video we discussed section 16 specifically, and  16 is just broad discretion under public health and safety grounds and as I have mentioned under a kind of a doctrine very much similar to the notion to the Doctrine of Consular Absolutism, Consular Non-reviewable under the American Immigration system. Thailand has something akin to that with respect to section 16 where they can basically say "I have found this individual to possibly be a threat to the welfare of the Kingdom; the factual reasons for that are really not going to be reviewed". So Immigration Officers have a lot of discretion with respect to that but the Act goes on. It has more narrowly defined criteria under which somebody can be excluded and under section 12, foreigners falling into any of the following categories are excludable from entering the Kingdom of Thailand. So again this is translated and somewhat paraphrased from the actual Act. This should not be taken as sort of the Gospel Truth with respect to the provisions of the Act itself. This information is simply provided as basically to provide conceptual nuance to the Act itself; to provide just some basic understanding as to how the ACT operates.

So we are looking at section 12 and subsection 2: Having no financial means following entrance into Thailand. So again sometimes the translation gets a little messed up but basically what they're saying is under sub-section 2 of section 12 of the Immigration Act, Immigration Officers can exclude individuals from entering the Kingdom who do not show sufficient financial means of supporting themselves while in the Kingdom. Under what context is this used? We saw it used a lot in about 2015 where we would see folks trying to come in on a tourist visa who were essentially working under the table as teachers in the Kingdom and basically they were using this specific section to say look we are excluding you because you can't prove that you have the means of supporting yourself as a tourist would in the Kingdom, because these individuals, they didn't have a lot of money. Under the table teachers don't get paid a lot of money in the Kingdom and for that reason these individuals were coming in and they were looking, on paper they didn't have any financial means to remain. Now as a practical matter they were going to have financial means because they were going to be working but they were going to be working illegally and as I get into in another video, working illegally is its own ground of inadmissibility to Thailand but specifically the financial means test can be utilized in the context of even illegal workers because basically that individual can’t show evidence that they can support themselves in the Kingdom of Thailand.