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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawEven Long Staying Non-Immigrants Are Still Not Resident in Thailand

Even Long Staying Non-Immigrants Are Still Not Resident in Thailand

Transcript of the above video: 

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing long staying Non-Immigrants. I often find that folks that have been here really long time, they have been here decades even, in non-immigrant status, they kind of get I don't know what the right word is, but sometimes when you mention the fact that you are still a non-immigrant, it is a Non-immigrant Visa, you still have to extend your status, you are not resident in Thailand, they take umbrage to this sometimes. I am not bringing this up to cause consternation, I am bringing it up as a reminder because I think a lot of times, especially folks that are working here, I think they get in a good cadence with just working and living in Thailand and they don't really worry very much about their longer-term status. Oftentimes, especially those who are working in Thailand, if they have got enough time under their belt so to speak, they can gain residence. They can get Thai Permanent Residence and then they really are resident in Thailand and they really don't have to worry about their Immigration situation very much. 

A recent article that pointed this out to me, or made me think about it, from the Bangkok Post print edition, and this was on Saturday April 17, 2021, the article is titled: Officials Eye US Scholar's Permit Case. There is a lot going on in that article. To quote that title again: Officials Eye US Scholar's Permit Case. Quoting directly: "Immigration Authorities are examining a Work Permit application submitted by David Streckfuss, an American academic working in the northeast for over 27 years after he lost his job at Khon Kaen University and overstayed his Visa." So this is an interesting article. There is a lot going on there and it sounds like the person involved here, the expat involved here, it is a complex situation to the point of perhaps being a difficult situation and I certainly hope it all works out well for him. 

The reason for the quote and the reason it made me think of making this video when reading this article is that it notes that he has been in Thailand for 27 years and that is really a long time. That is longer than I have been here by quite a stretch and he has definitely probably become a member of the community etc., but if you are in Non-Immigrant status, it really doesn't matter how long you have been here. It is still a year-on-year application for continued stay and a re-adjudication as to continued stay. The length of time, while I would say relevant on a human interest level, from a legal standpoint it is really not relevant. It is the nature of one's status and if one is in status as a non-immigrant then at the end of a Visa or if a Visa is canceled, they have to leave. I think a lot of folks that are here for a long period of time, they don't really take into consideration just how important Permanent Residence can be. I think a lot of this stems from and I certainly felt like this at a certain point in my stay here in Thailand, I think a lot of folks say to themselves, "well I am probably going back to the US" and for quite a while they believe that. I believed that myself. Then at a certain point, you have to have a discussion with yourself as to whether or not you are going to remain in Thailand long term and if so you may need to get a more regularized status. I am not casting aspersions to the person in this article or anyone for that matter, I am just simply saying it is not something you would think about. I am an Immigration Attorney, I think about this all the time. Fortunately for the viewing public viewing these videos, you don't think about this stuff all the time; that is great. I don't really love the fact that I have to think about this all the time but it makes me a little bit more aware. 

The reason for this video is, yeah people I think can just kind of get in a feedback loop of just being here in Thailand and they don't really think longer term and then at some point, over 20 years has gone by and you haven't regularized your status; you haven't gotten proper long term residence and therefore you could end up having issues with maintaining status into the future.