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Politics in Thailand Can Be Precarious for Foreigners

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing politics in Thailand for foreigners. What are we talking about here? Well specifically, there are a certain subset of foreign nationals, I am not beyond this, I occasionally comment on politics as well, but sometimes foreign nationals can get actively involved in political movements if you will or political discourse here in Thailand. I think sometimes people fail to understand that that can be a bit precarious if you are a foreign national especially depending on your Visa status.

This whole topic came to my attention from a recent article in the Bangkok Post print edition from April 17th, 2021. The article is titled: 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." Quoting further: "The University reportedly claimed local police had pressured it to refrain from hiring Mr. Streckfuss due to his involvement in a political movement, an allegation Police denied." Now, not getting into the back and forth of that and not casting aspersions at anyone, not even really trying to get deeply involved in anything having to do with any political issues underlying what is going on here, that is not the purpose of this video, I certainly wish everyone associated with this well including the gentleman involved in trying to get his visa sorted out. I wish him luck in getting that sorted out. I hope everything works out well for him.

The reason though for this video is, foreign nationals in Thailand, especially those in Non-Immigrant status are exactly that. They are non-immigrants. They have no rights to Residence; they have no right of abode; they are not landed immigrants; they are also not citizens so they don't have any right to stay in Thailand. Now they may be accorded certain protections under the Constitution or under notions of human rights with respect to being able to express opinions they wish to so long as it complies with Thai Law, but understand there are practical implications which can be associated with positions taken by individuals. Where such individuals do not have again Residence status which permits them to be resident in Thailand, this can be a real problem and it is something of note to any foreign national that is here, if you are in Non-Immigrant status that status, revocation may be subject to appeal. You may be able to undertake a process whereby you appeal the revocation of status but if the Government simply opts, if Immigration simply opts for a variety of reasons they can cite under the Immigration Act of '79, to simply not renew the visa, there is very little that can be done with respect to that. It is akin to what is called section 214b of the Immigration Nationality Act in the United States wherein Consular Officers making factual determinations regarding visa issuance are not really subject to any review and their fact-finding is largely un-appealable, for lack of a better term. 

So again, the reason for this video is just to kind of I guess to act as a kind of reminder to folks, that if you are in Non-Immigrant status in Thailand, it is not residence and you are not locked in. You don't have any rights with respect to abode here in the Kingdom and for this reason should your Visa come into jeopardy, that can end up being the reason why an individual may be precluded from remaining in the Kingdom on a long-term basis.