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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawStrong Immigration Enforcement Efforts to Continue in Thailand

Strong Immigration Enforcement Efforts to Continue in Thailand

See transcript of the above video below:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Immigration enforcement activities; the so-called crackdowns here in the Kingdom also called "Operation X-ray Outlaw Foreigner", etc.  is just sort of update on what's going on with respect to that. 

There was a recent article in the Bangkok Post, titled “Visa Crackdown to Stay”.  The date of the article is 16 December, 2018. Again, Bangkok Post, Quoting directly from the article. "Today the number of foreigners who overstay their visas is zero, Police Lieutenant General Surachate said.  I want to keep the number at zero." Quoting further, "In October alone this year, police arrested more than 40,000 suspects. Many of them were blacklisted and prohibited from reentering Thailand. Police Lieutenant General Surachate attributed the success largely to complaints from owners of accommodation as well as crackdowns on brokers who helped foreigners renew their visas. Quoting further, "one condominium has so many foreigners that every floor was full of foreigners," Police Lieutenant General Surachate said.  "By law, foreigners are required to report to authorities within 24 hours after they check into their accommodation. It is an important law but may be easily ignored, even by those who never intended to commit any wrongdoing." Police Lieutenant General Surachate said.  Finally one further quote, "The X-ray Outlaw Foreigner campaign will stay in place and even foreigners with refugee status will be carefully regulated," he added. So first of all again the title, is “Visa Crackdown to Stay”:  Bangkok Post, 

The thing to take away from this article first of all to me, the numbers. I have tried to figure out the total numbers we have seen in the last roughly eighteen months since these crackdowns started happening in earnest of how many people have actually been arrested, detained or deported in connection with this overall operation and 40,000 in 1 month to me was staggering but I can believe it. I mean they've dedicated a lot of time, man hours, resources, money to these crackdowns, to these raids. Lots of people at any given one raid may be detained, and deported. The other thing to think of is there's a substantial number of, for example neighboring country nationals: Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar most notably; even Malaysia to some extent. Those folks are getting rounded up along with what you would consider western nation nationals who are also being deported and probably the number of Western nationals being blacklisted is substantially less than  the neighboring country nationals.  The report there also went on a note that there has been some criticism of this move by various nationalities saying that hey are targeting various groups etc. To me it looks like all they're doing is targeting places where foreigners or they presume foreigners are going to be and they're going after them accordingly. I urge those when are watching this video to read that article if you're really interested.  It's actually quite exhaustive with respect to its information.

But the thing to take away from this video today is I think this is just going to continue at pace. I don't think that they are going to change a lot with respect to the zeal and the resources being put in to going after illegals here in the Kingdom; illegal foreigners I should say.  But the thing that is notable to me and I've mentioned this other videos is the change in paradigm with respect to this issue.  Again at one time and it wasn't in that you know distant of the past, three four years ago, matters pertaining to immigration were considered kind of an administrative issue, a regulatory matter, not really something to be concerned about to the extent of for lack of a better term, “crime-fighting”. I think that has changed radically in the last especially the last 18 months, if not a little bit longer.  I think the paradigm has shifted and I think that Immigration Officers here, as well as Police more at large, view immigration violations not as just some regulatory issue, but more and more as a crime for lack of a better term in and of itself. Some of this is very similar to the sort of thinking by the Administration of for example New York in the late eighties and early nineties under Mayor Giuliani, where the view was that going after rather minor offenses would sort of curtail the more major offenses down the road. By being very stringent in enforcing things like graffiti and turnstile offenders in subways and mass transit places it would result in a decreasing of overall crime because the thinking went, I think, that  the small stuff manifested itself into larger issues within you know in a more broad context. I think there's some of that going on with respect to the immigration issue. You know the view is that those who are willing to be in illegal status or overstay status in the Kingdom, also may be more willing to go ahead and violate other laws and other regulations.  Whether or not that's necessarily true or not, I don't know, but what is clear is they remain serious, they remain committed to going ahead and cracking down on these. As it noted in there, X-ray Outlaw Foreigner continues. The operation is still operational. It is still alive and so for that reason I do not think it's likely that we're going to see in abatement of these crackdowns anytime in the near future although perhaps the numbers might be dwindling as more people have been deported and blacklisted and presumably cannot return it seems logical to me that we're going to probably see more this in 2019 and beyond.