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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWill the "Phuket Model" for Immigration Apply All Across Thailand?

Will the "Phuket Model" for Immigration Apply All Across Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the "Phuket Model". 

For those unaware, the "Phuket Model" has been discussed by various officials within the Thai Government regarding the resumption of tourism. We have done some videos on this channel regarding this already; I urge you to go check that out. Suffice it to say the "Phuket Model" basically is a model to bring in tourists put them under quarantine and then allow them some relatively limited movement and then allow them to sort of have free movement after a certain period of time.

A recent article from Khao Sod English that is, the article is titled: "Phuket Model" Expanded Nationwide Despite Little Support.  Quoting directly: "Officials on Wednesday doubled down on their proposal to resume limited tourism."  Quoting further: "Even as experts have yet to settle their debate over the "Phuket Model" which called for arrivals of some tourists to the southern island of Phuket, National Economic and Social Development Board's Secretary General Tossaporn Sirisamphan said the plan will now be reworked to include other provinces."  Quoting further and quoting directly from the aforementioned individual: "The "Phuket Model" is causing confusion and opposition as a result. Therefore we have adjusted the plan to allow foreign tourists to travel at large since some of the provinces, such as Bangkok, have the capability to handle foreign tourists."  

Now a couple of things I want to make clear with this video. This has sort of gone off and on. Every discussion of bringing in tourists be it called the "travel bubble" proposal, "safe and sealed", ”green corridors" and now this so-called "Phuket Model" which manifested itself roughly a week ago as of the time of this video and then sort of was put on the back burner and now it is kind of being revived and now they are talking about expanding it, all of this is simply discussion. We have yet to see any concrete changes to the current rules regarding the shutdown of inbound tourism, inbound flights into Thailand. Let's be clear, it is not a full shutdown. It is not as if no flights are coming in. It is just quite constricted compared to normality; compared to pre- COVID compared to pre- shutdown, we just don't see the number of flights that we usually see because the folks that meet the eligibility criteria for admission have been drastically truncated mostly to Non-immigrant Visa categories in the case of foreigners, and it is not all non-immigrant Visa categories; it is B Visas with work authorization as well as O visas for family of Thai nationals and then also in limited circumstances, ED Visa holders may be eligible for entry to Thailand. That stated, it is truncated. We are dealing with a far shorter list if you will of folks that can get into Thailand then we have ever really dealt with before at least in my memory and basically it is rather unprecedented if you look back on the recent history and I mean by recent, last 40 - 50 years of Thai history, we just really haven't seen this level of travel constraint placed upon folks looking to come into Thailand but here we are. These are the circumstances and we have to deal with them for what they are.  I really do urge folks to go ahead and read this article. Again Khao Sod English, the article is titled: Phuket Model Expanded Nationwide Despite Little Support.  It is very insightful and Khao Sod English just generally, I mention a lot of the folks and the sources we use to research information and I don't think I have mentioned them in a while. Khao Sod English is a very good publication as far as they can be very insightful as far as some of these Immigration matters are concerned. 

This stated, the thing to take away from this video. I think and I think there is no question that everyone in the Thai Government or virtually everyone if you want to look at that way, is interested in restarting tourism. They all understand the economic ramifications of this as do we all who live here. It is really unfortunate that tourism is in the place that it is in but the fact of it is we are still dealing with the aftermath; we are dealing with the shutdown and this stuff is going to take a minute to get back online. More importantly I think many folks in positions of policy executive on matters pertaining to this COVID issue are as has been quoted in a prior video from one official “very risk-averse”. They are not totally on board with just opening things up. That stated we have seen recently, in recent days we have seen documentation and information in various new sources which states that they are coming more to the paradigm shift that “look it is not a matter of risk aversion or risk avoidance, it is a matter of managing risk”. That certainly is a good sign. Now whether or not the floodgates are going to open tomorrow, that I do not think will happen. However I do believe we will be looking at and I don't know exactly when, I hesitate to speculate. I think the end of the year maybe a little too soon but I think give or take a few weeks it might be possible under current conditions. 

 That stated, I suspect we are probably not going to see things coming back into some semblance of status quo ante COVID if you want to call it that or sort of pre-COVID normality. I don't think we are going to see things shaping up that way until probably 2021 before we really see it getting back on that track as far as being able to travel and come in as a tourist into Thailand.