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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsUpdate: Immigration Crackdowns in Thailand

Update: Immigration Crackdowns in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing what we often discuss here on this channel, we are doing an update with respect to Immigration crackdowns here in Thailand.

As I have gone through in the past, "Big Joke" was a decidedly different Head of Immigration than our current Head of Immigration, Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang also known as "Big Oud".

They are different in so far as "Big Joke", and maybe the circumstances have changed, "Big Joke" seemed to engage in a lot of roundup type raids of a massive numbers of foreigner and I do think the resulting after effects of that was it created a deterrent against people illegally coming to Thailand or remaining here illegally. Also a lot of those folks left and they were blacklisted and are not able to come back; the demographics have changed for lack of better term. On top of that, I also think that the current Immigration Chief takes a different tactic toward immigration enforcement. It is definitely viewed as a law enforcement function but they are more interested in catching specific criminal activity rather than the sort of broad raid type situations possibly because those broad raids are found to no longer be necessary or to be somewhat superfluous because they are no longer fulfilling their use because there just aren't those numbers of people overstaying in Thailand. 

That being said, there are a couple of recent articles that I thought were of note.  One is from the Thaiger,the thaiger.com. The title of the article is: Foreign Criminals Apprehended in Thailand in Two Separate Arrests. Quoting directly: "Immigration Police have made two more  arrests apprehending a Burmese man and Chinese man both of whom are wanted in their own countries." Quoting further: "They were found to be staying in Thailand illegally with Immigration police unable to find any record of him entering or leaving the country since 2017." That is one of the people apprehended. However airport security footage showed him arriving Suvarnabhumi  Airport and Police believe he entered the country illegally. He was tracked down to a hotel in Bangkok where he was arrested. The second arrest took place in Chonburi Province and involved a Chinese man who overstayed his Visa. The man is wanted in China for committing fraud amounting to over 85 million baht." 

On the one hand there is this and then in another article this article, this article titled: German Busted for 5-day Overstay in Pattaya; again this is from the thaiger.com. Quoting directly: “Five Chonburi Immigration Officers have arrested a 35 year old German man outside a hotel in Pattaya. “Bert E”. had overstayed his visa by 5 days and was handed over to Pattaya Police. The Immigration Police are now making examples of even minor transgressions of the visa rules". 

I think the thing to take away from this is twofold. Overstay is viewed now as a serious matter where once it was kind of “Oh, it is overstay whatever!” It is not viewed that way anymore, it is viewed rather seriously. Also Immigration is again taking a law enforcement function on this stuff and as in the case of the two other arrested people where they were known to have committed offences in other jurisdictions or to have entered the country illegally or they are inferring they entered the country illegally, then in all those instances Immigration is going to do something about that.   

I think the thing to take away from this video is that moving forward, I don't think it is probably a correct terminology to view overstay as a “minor” transgression. I don't think Thai Immigration takes that position anymore. Overstay is overstay, they don't like it and they are going to do something about it. They are going to enforce the Immigration rules. So be assiduous in maintaining your status here in in the Kingdom of Thailand and avoid overstay at all costs and obviously stay away from illegal activity as the same thing can get one deported from Thailand, probably blacklisted and forestalling one from ever returning to the Kingdom at least for the foreseeable future.