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COVID-19: Is Thai Immigration Policy Keeping Families Apart?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing yet again COVID -19 which is sort of ubiquitous on people's lips here in Thailand. 

A recent article came to my attention from The Nation, that is The article is titled articles title Tears and Heartbreak as Flight Bans Keep Farang-Thai Families Apart. It was posted May 22, 2020. Quoting directly: "Foreign Nationals married to Thai citizens who are stranded overseas due to the ban on incoming flights are pleading with the Government to let them return so they can be with their family. Some have even contacted Nation Thailand to ask for help." Quoting further: "Another expat who is in a similar situation said it is unfair that families are being kept apart during this difficult period just because one of the spouses is not Thai."  I urge those who are interested in this information again the title is Tears and Heartbreak as Flight Ban Keeps Farang-Thai Families Apart, that is

We have gotten a number of inquiries on this. It is really unfortunate and this is really a sad state of affairs that the current travel ban for incoming foreigners is having this impact. There are a lot of bi-national families; Thai-American, Thai -UK, Thai- Irish, other nationalities where there is a family connection to Thailand, they are just being kept apart. There really isn't a lot as of the time of this video that can be done. We are consulting with various clients.  We do keep track of Thai Immigration. We talk to them pretty much daily regarding the overall situation. Those who are interested in further information please feel free to contact us or with respect to specific enquiries feel free to contact us as well because different cases are going to have different fact patterns and those fact patterns are going to dictate how this is going to operate a little bit differently from person to person. 

Long story short, it is an unfortunate situation. Understand Thai Nationals are having a problem getting back into Thailand as are lawful permanent residents of Thailand, people in Immigrant status who have Thai PR, those folks are also having issues getting back into Thailand. Now there is an Amnesty for them who are stuck abroad and we have done a video on that on this channel specifically. But the thing to take away from this video is, it is not just affecting bi-national families for example Thai-American families, Thai-British families, it is having an impact on everyone. The other thing to understand is unfortunately those who have a Non-immigrant O Visa based on marriage that is what its title notes; it is a Non-immigrant Visa. For that reason there are not the same number of rights associated with that type of Visa category when compared to citizenship or permanent residence in Thailand.

I am kind of hoping maybe it is a bit of a silver lining. Folks that have lived in Thailand for a number of years in non-immigrant status will look at this situation perhaps as something I hesitate to call it a wakeup call I don't wish to sound condescending, but perhaps they will look at this situation and realize that "Hey maybe my status isn't as permanent and solid as I would like", and if those folks qualify to get into permanent resident status for example or to obtain Thai citizenship, they can avail themselves of the mechanisms for attempting to do so. I think that would be a good idea especially this year where they may not have very much to do other than work on that process because in the aftermath of this I think we are going to see situations where folks that don't have permanent status in Thailand could be at quite a disadvantage relative to those that do and these travel restrictions and I think the cumbersome nature of travel is going to continue at least for the next 90 - 120 days from the publication of this video. I think we are still going to have issues getting in and out of Thailand at least for the relatively foreseeable future.

So the thing to take away from this video is really I have read some truly heartbreaking emails associated with this lock-down. Really my heart goes out to folks that are separated from their loved ones but unfortunately for at least the moment, we are sort of stuck with it. Hopefully things will clear up sooner rather than later. I personally think especially in light of the fact that the cases are going down here in Thailand as well as other things like, there seems to be reports that heat for example is not overly conducive to the transmission of this virus as well as reports that it does not seem to be transmissible over inert surfaces. Now being stated, this should not be viewed as authoritative. I am just thinking of things that I have just recently read as of today from relatively credible sources in my opinion. That being said, definitely I am not a virologist or an epidemiologist or a medical doctor but hopefully as the situation progresses and we start to see that this disease isn't quite as bad at least from a transmission standpoint as we initially were worried about, things will start to come online. We are still stuck with the travel ban until July 1st at the earliest unless that is pulled off sooner than that. That being stated in the aftermath of July 1st it remains to be seen just how straightforward it is going to be to return Thailand under these circumstances.