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Not All Lawyers Know Immigration

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the fact that not all lawyers know Immigration. I am going to discuss this broadly but I will drill down into a little bit of the specifics here. So, in the context of American Law, not all Attorneys are General Practitioners and even beyond even that, even if they are GP, they may not necessarily know anything about Immigration Law. 

Now depending on what you are talking about, some of them might but I often find when I talk to people that have gone to like their family lawyer and discussed Immigration issues in an American context, there seem to be a lot of assumptions that get made. Frankly they are commonsensical assumptions, even I would say commonsensical assumptions in an Attorney context, because in other fields of law certain things work a certain way. In immigration law, it is not really unlike tax law to some extent insofar as it is a very narrow body of law but it is very, very deep; so it is sort of the opposite of a mile wide and an inch deep. It is an inch wide and a mile deep and again it is its own codified body of law that then has its own set of jurisprudence associated with it. Certain things that can seem very counterintuitive that occur in American Immigration law and somebody that has really not dealt with it they might make certain assumptions that although not unreasonable in sort of a more general context, in a specifically Immigration context, yeah it can be it can lead to some really serious mistakes. 

Meanwhile in the context of Thai Immigration Law, we see this a lot where we see corporate clients that will come to us after dealing with a different firm or a different practitioner that may be really, really great at dealing with just standard corporate type legal issues but then they don't have a lot of insight into Immigration. This is kind of hard for people to understand because especially over here and I see this in both contexts. People who live in their own country don't know their own Immigration Law very well and this is true even for lawyers. If you don't have to deal with Immigration, for example Thais in Thailand, they never have to deal with Immigration; they are never going to deal with them. They have a Thai Passport. When they come and go from Thailand they are stamped in, they don't need a Visa to come to Thailand. The same goes for the United States unless they have a spouse or a loved one, in either context where they have to deal with Thai or American Immigration.

Where we see this come up in a Thai context is more in sort of a corporate context where in certain ways especially if you are setting up a small business for yourself as a foreign national to run and maintain one's Visa and Work Permit, we often see where lawyers that only deal with the corporate aspect they may do things that in a purely corporate context make total sense, but may actually have a detrimental impact on an application for things like a Business Visa, a Business Visa extension, or a Thai Work Permit. There are things you don't really necessarily need to do. If a Thai National was to set up a Company here in Thailand, there are certain things they would not need to do initially associated with incorporation in order to go ahead and run their business. For a foreign national who is going to need a Work Permit, there are certain steps they are going to have to go through that a Thai National just isn't going to have to deal with and a lawyer or a firm that doesn't really deal a lot with foreign nationals with Immigration, may not be overly familiar with those kind of problems, with those kind of things that you need to foresee in cases involving foreigners who are going to need to maintain status. 

So again when you are looking at doing something and you are definitely looking at doing something in a foreign country, it is probably good idea to have a lawyer or legal professionals that are well versed in the Immigration Law of that country before making any irrevocable decisions.