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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWhy Not Give Long Term Expats Permanent Residence in Thailand?

Why Not Give Long Term Expats Permanent Residence in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

The question posed in this video is "Why not just give people that have been in Thailand long term, just grant them Permanent Residence?" This came up as a result of my reading of a letter that was sent in to the Postbag in Bangkok Post. This was the Bangkok Post print edition, this was December 19th, 2020. You will probably find this on as well. The letter is titled: Immigration Games and it was sent in by Farangs Anonymous. Quoting directly: "And while you are at it why not amend the rules for Spousal and Retirement Visa holders who have been living here for at least 10 years to Permanent Residence?" 

Now I certainly can't speak for Thai Immigration, but what I can say is, based on my experience in dealing with the Immigration system and I have been through pretty much all aspects of it, I have naturalized to Thai citizenship, Permanent Residence is a horse of a totally different color than Non-Immigrant status. It should be noted that within the Immigration Act of 79, there is these two tiers. There is Permanent Residence and then there is Non-immigrants. Then you could argue there is another tier which is tourists or Visa exempt status but non-immigrants are considered temporary, longer term temporary status; it is yearly basis but it is presumed to be temporary. 

The process for obtaining PR in Thailand and undergoing the adjudication of a PR application, it is pretty darn cumbersome. I am here to tell you, we assist a number of clients every year in just filing for PR. Most of them are the size of a phone book to file for it. All the documentation, information and proof you have got to provide in order to be able to process a PR application. Then on top of it you know going through the adjudication process; you have got to be reviewed, you are basically inspected in a number of ways and then you have to be signed off. It goes all the way up to the Minister of Interior here in Thailand to sign off on one's Permanent Residence. It is a pretty overwhelming process and it is a very different process from dealing with a non-immigrant visa. 

So again not to give an answer here exactly but I just want to provide some nuance on that question, "Why not do it?" Well I think that their answer would be and I think it is good to look at it from this perspective just so you understand why it works this way, non-immigrant status is a very different thing from immigrant status which is someone that is never going to leave presumably and for that reason there is a higher level of scrutiny associated with PR and that is why the notion of automatic PR I think within the framework as it is, just doesn't really make a lot of sense.