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Pros and Cons of "Marriage" Extension vs. "Retirement" Extension

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16 minutes ago, elviajero said:

Fake marriages have been going on in every country for ever. Thailand is not an exception. Here's a report from Dec 2018.  http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30359828

 

"Police, in the ongoing crackdown on foreigners living unlawfully in the Kingdom, have arrested 10 Indian men and 24 Thai women on suspicion of involvement in a scam whereby fake marriages and false documents were used to extend the men’s stay in Thailand, the Immigration Police Bureau announced on Tuesday."

 

The TIB have publicly commented on the problem in the past, and it is the reason why offices have to provide the extra evidence that the marriage - at least appears - real, and it's put under consideration. The office provide the evidence so that a higher up can sign it off.

Between 300 and 2000 Thai women have had their identities stolen and are completely unaware that they were fraudulently married to a foreigner.

 

Eight Indian nationals have been arrested for involvement in a scam that used the names of 300 Thai women in forged marriage licences. None of the women were aware that they were "married".

The women are residents of Saraburi's Wang Muang distrct, deputy Tourist Police Bureau chief Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Wednesday after  officers earlier helped 13 victims withdraw their names from the marriage registry. . . .

Pol Maj Gen Surachate told INN News Agency that investigators in the fake marriage scam are checking to see if another 1,700 women in the same district may have "taken husbands" without their knowledge. 

Two Wang Muang assistant district chiefs and an administration official allegedly used names of 2,000 women to making fake marriage licences in return for 2,000 baht a name.

They were already dismissed, according to the INN News Agency.

 

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/1471297/thai-women-married-by-indian-gangsters

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5 minutes ago, SEtonal said:

Between 300 and 2000 Thai women have had their identities stolen and are completely unaware that they were fraudulently married to a foreigner.

 

Eight Indian nationals have been arrested for involvement in a scam that used the names of 300 Thai women in forged marriage licences. None of the women were aware that they were "married".

The women are residents of Saraburi's Wang Muang distrct, deputy Tourist Police Bureau chief Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Wednesday after  officers earlier helped 13 victims withdraw their names from the marriage registry. . . .

Pol Maj Gen Surachate told INN News Agency that investigators in the fake marriage scam are checking to see if another 1,700 women in the same district may have "taken husbands" without their knowledge. 

Two Wang Muang assistant district chiefs and an administration official allegedly used names of 2,000 women to making fake marriage licences in return for 2,000 baht a name.

They were already dismissed, according to the INN News Agency.

 

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/1471297/thai-women-married-by-indian-gangsters

Probably the tip of the iceberg and doesn't include all those women that voluntarily marry for cash so the foreigner can get a visa.

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42 minutes ago, elviajero said:

The rules were not made by the higher ups to promote the use of agents or corruption.

I'm not so sure about that.  Or, at least, some higher-ups are afraid-of or otherwise powerless to stop the corrupt ones - kind of like politicians in Mexico.

 

46 minutes ago, elviajero said:

Fake marriages have been going on in every country for ever. Thailand is not an exception. Here's a report from Dec 2018.  http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30359828

 

"Police, in the ongoing crackdown on foreigners living unlawfully in the Kingdom, have arrested 10 Indian men and 24 Thai women on suspicion of involvement in a scam whereby fake marriages and false documents were used to extend the men’s stay in Thailand, the Immigration Police Bureau announced on Tuesday."

 

The TIB have publicly commented on the problem in the past, and it is the reason why offices have to provide the extra evidence that the marriage - at least appears - real, and it's put under consideration. The office provide the evidence so that a higher up can sign it off.

Yes - generally, those from lower-wage countries trying to get into higher-wage countries - right (India, in this case)?  The story says they "using forged documents" - so probably an agent involved - maybe similar to the agent busted for making forged tax-documents for others from India.  No way a Thai woman went to much trouble for "500 to 5000 Baht."  Sounds like she showed up at the agent once, and that's it.

 

As to who is targeted, most of us posting in this forum are not those who would come here to be (from the story) "illegal moneylenders or salesmen for pay-by-installment goods such as clothing and electrical appliances."  If they want to look more carefully at those from lower-wage countries, that bears some merit, but ...

 

To the extent this issue requires a nationwide "crackdown" on a subset of foreigners likely to use this, they would need the hurdles created to actually address the problem.  If a bad-guy is paying a Thai woman for a fake marriage - and assuming he isn't using an agent (which he probably would), she must show up at immigration.  Certainly, a few pictures in his apartment would come with the package?  A witness might be another 500 baht.

 

As I have said before - I support the "home visits," because this is the most effective way to stop these types of scams.  I support all reasonable efforts to make Thailand safer and scumbag-free - including a sane replacement for reporting our living-location.

Edited by JackThompson
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41 minutes ago, JackThompson said:
  2 hours ago, 55Jay said:

I don't understand how Immigration honchos could benefit in the agent-money scheme from the neighbor witness requirement?

41 minutes ago, JackThompson said:

You don't need the money, witness, landlord-docs, if you use an agent.  The "unpublished requirements" vanish, and some of the actual "real" requirements are skipped in exchange for the agent's brown-envelope. <SNIP>

Oh, OK, thanks - it's under the broad umbrella of the Immigration/Agent-money system. 

Thought you meant there was something specific about the neighbor witness requirement. 

 

I'll take your word for it, I've got no experience with fixers/agents here.  An I/O has never suggested I use one, don't even think they are a thing up where I live.

 

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I agree with Kenny 202. The family extension is a nightmare. You have to take your kid out of school to be seen each year, take pictures with her at school and with her at home and your wife or partner. Pictures in differing poses and activities. Map of where you live, blue/yellow books, msrriage certs your childs birth cert. And your wife' id. A complete nightmare. I done it for 4 years and changed. Now much simpler. Thai government dont mind farang having relations with thai women however if you havd a child or marry them and want to look after them they will treat you like dirt. 

They just want your money. 

 

"Love is for the birds and bees, I want money, oooh oooh hoo, that's all I want!"

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24 minutes ago, 55Jay said:

Oh, OK, thanks - it's under the broad umbrella of the Immigration/Agent-money system. 

Thought you meant there was something specific about the neighbor witness requirement. 

 

I'll take your word for it, I've got no experience with fixers/agents here.  An I/O has never suggested I use one, don't even think they are a thing up where I live.

Most IOs do not come out and tell you "go to an agent" - they just make things very difficult, knowing you are being saturated with ads (songthiews, facebook, this-site) by agents offering to fix everything. 

 

Some IOs are more up-front - reported asking for money.  There is one infamous IO doing Non-O stamps who has been reported to ask for cash directly in the past, and more recently suggest talking to the agent who operates literally next-door to that office.

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4 minutes ago, Sumarianson said:

I agree with Kenny 202. The family extension is a nightmare. You have to take your kid out of school to be seen each year, take pictures with her at school and with her at home and your wife or partner. Pictures in differing poses and activities. Map of where you live, blue/yellow books, msrriage certs your childs birth cert. And your wife' id. A complete nightmare. I done it for 4 years and changed. Now much simpler. Thai government dont mind farang having relations with thai women however if you havd a child or marry them and want to look after them they will treat you like dirt. 

They just want your money. 

 

"Love is for the birds and bees, I want money, oooh oooh hoo, that's all I want!"

I reckon all these requirements weren't put in place for no reason.  Rather, as a result of dodgy douche bags trying to get one past Thai Immigration.  So the vast majority pay for the actions of a relative few. 

 

That's how societies and laws work though.  Even Moses was at wits end trying to keep his band of yobs in line, so he wrote down some rules.  We've been adding to them ever since.

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19 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

And there have certainly been posts on TV of people openly talking about getting married for the purpose of a visa. Some of those may nto be totally fake marriages so much as marriages of convenience, the line between the two is sometimes hard to draw.

If co-habitating for a period of time, then getting married so they can stay together - very different from a fake-marriage. 

 

There is some logic to it, if dealing with a case of a foreigner from a low-wage country moving to a high-wage country.  But, even then, it seems to be agent-arranged (the criminal gangs work with an agent), who likely provides the faked-money (and seasoning isn't checked, due to the agent's brown-envelope). 

 

Simple solution - don't allow agents, and go to the home after awhile, and see if they are really living there together.  Drop all the other crap, beyond the basic docs - since the only reason for that, is clearly to encourage agent-use.

 

19 minutes ago, 55Jay said:

I reckon all these requirements weren't put in place for no reason.  Rather, as a result of dodgy douche bags trying to get one past Thai Immigration.  So the vast majority pay for the actions of a relative few. 

I am sure there were cases used as Public Relations - similar cases to the link above - to justify the hurdles which were designed not to find fraud, but to encourage agent-use. 

 

But when someone plops down an EU, USA, JP, AU, etc passport, they are clearly not getting married to a Thai, in order to fulfill their dream of becoming an "underground consumer-electronics salesman" in Thailand.

 

Edit:  Even better - charge for 1st year verification process, to cover a couple unannounced home-visits.  A couple thousand baht for such would be money well spent, to get a legit (agent-free) hassle-free extension based on marriage.  Let them ask for the bank-book, too, when they visit - to see you still have money coming in or saved.  I would have been happy with that deal.  Just No More Corruption Runarounds, please.

Edited by JackThompson

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33 minutes ago, Sumarianson said:

I agree with Kenny 202. The family extension is a nightmare. You have to take your kid out of school to be seen each year, take pictures with her at school and with her at home and your wife or partner. Pictures in differing poses and activities. Map of where you live, blue/yellow books, msrriage certs your childs birth cert. And your wife' id. A complete nightmare. I done it for 4 years and changed. Now much simpler. Thai government dont mind farang having relations with thai women however if you havd a child or marry them and want to look after them they will treat you like dirt. 

They just want your money. 

 

"Love is for the birds and bees, I want money, oooh oooh hoo, that's all I want!"

Like your thinking. Right or wrong we all have various attitudes. If I was a Thai io I could imagine all the various farang applying for extensions based on marriage and I'm thinking (as a Thai io) ...."so you come to MY country and marry a Thai". I can see the steam coming up from shirt. So umm I'll make it as hard as possible for this FARANG.

We are tolerated. 

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7 hours ago, 55Jay said:

If you don't understand the process first, it might seem like officials are messing with you even when they're not.  Varying English abilities on their part can exacerbate it.  If you soak up all the horror stories and negativity from the internet, you might also develop a negative outlook and a short fuse to getting angry and frustrated. 

 

When you submit docs for an extension based on marriage, there's a 30 day processing period, after which you must return and receive the extension/permission to stay stamp in your passport.  That's standard procedure.  It would also be right at the end of your existing permission to stay so sure, you need to show up and finish the process, or make other arrangements.

 

Doing an extension based on marriage involves more paperwork and effort on your part as well as for Immigration.  That's why they might try to "sell" you on Retirement if you're qualified.   "My" I/O teased me every year about doing Retirement extension, even though I wasn't old enough.  I am now, my next extension will be Retirement.  Nice!  :thumbsup:

The last two times i have turned up after the thirty days, they had not received the OK to stamp my PP they said come back in a week my wife who went to the IO said she could'nt make it in a week they said no problem come in fortnight which she did and got the stamp, so i'm not sure how the permission to stay is affected they did'nt seemed to much concerned about it, this was at Jom Chien for what it's worth!   

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Just now, JackThompson said:
  15 minutes ago, 55Jay said:

I reckon all these requirements weren't put in place for no reason.  Rather, as a result of dodgy douche bags trying to get one past Thai Immigration.  So the vast majority pay for the actions of a relative few. 

1 hour ago, JackThompson said:

I am sure there were cases used as Public Relations - similar cases to the link above - to justify the hurdles which were designed not to find fraud, but to encourage agent-use. 

 

But when someone plops down an EU, USA, JP, AU, etc passport, they are clearly not getting married to a Thai, in order to fulfill their dream of becoming an "underground consumer-electronics salesman" in Thailand.

Not arguing with you on the existence of the agent-money scheme, although I haven't had any direct exposure to it yet, or even a whiff of suggestion by an I/O in that direction.  At least not at the office I use.

 

But it sounds like you're suggesting that some of the check procedures Thai Immigration has instituted, were contrived with the intent to appear so cumbersome that applicants would be more easily persuaded to use the services of a private immigration services agent - ideally certain ones that are in on the referral/kick back scheme with nefarious government I/Os and some of their bosses.

 

Take everyone's favorite one - the marriage extension process, for example.  Which procedure(s) would you say fit into this category?

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2 hours ago, maxcorrigan said:

The last two times i have turned up after the thirty days, they had not received the OK to stamp my PP they said come back in a week my wife who went to the IO said she could'nt make it in a week they said no problem come in fortnight which she did and got the stamp, so i'm not sure how the permission to stay is affected they did'nt seemed to much concerned about it, this was at Jom Chien for what it's worth!   

Was your original permission to stay expired during that additional fortnight?

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1 hour ago, 55Jay said:

Not arguing with you on the existence of the agent-money scheme, although I haven't had any direct exposure to it yet, or even a whiff of suggestion by an I/O in that direction.  At least not at the office I use.

 

But it sounds like you're suggesting that some of the check procedures Thai Immigration has instituted, were contrived with the intent to appear so cumbersome that applicants would be more easily persuaded to use the services of a private immigration services agent - ideally certain ones that are in on the referral/kick back scheme with nefarious government I/Os and some of their bosses.

 

Take everyone's favorite one - the marriage extension process, for example.  Which procedure(s) would you say fit into this category?

It is important to reiterate - this varies by office.  Where you find more "unpublished requirements" piled on - especially more added each time you show up with the last batch - it is clear the agent-money is the goal of the local-office.  Applicants in some areas find this even with retirement-extensions, though those are generally easier to receive.

 

When you consider that the agent-system is publicly advertised - including "no money needed," right in the ads - it is clear those who could crack-down from above are also part of the network.  They cannot be ignorant of what is happening, and it could be shut down tomorrow by checking seasoning consistently.  So when "from above" requirements are imposed, and those requirements do little or nothing to address the claimed rationale for their imposition, it is difficult to reach any conclusion other than that agent-revenues are the cause.

 

The financials, alone, force a sizable percentage of retirees to agents.  The embassy-letter move was a way to increase that percentage - making it impossible for many who were over but close to the minimum, to apply without an agent.  Potential removal of the combination option - unknown, at this point, for those w/o embassy-letters - drives agent-use even higher.  Thailand is, after all, not an expensive place to live, relative to many of our passport-countries, and many retire here because a good lifestyle is affordable.

 

In the case of marriage-based extensions, the financial requirements are lower, such that most retired applicant's pensions cover the required amount easily.  As a result, it makes sense that more hoops to jump through are needed to force marriage-based applicants to agents, than are needed for retirement-extensions, which are close to or higher than the pensions that a large portion of those who retire in Thailand receive.  

 

In many countries, marriage to a citizen is a fast-track to permanent-residency and citizenship plus an automatic work-permit.  Here, no such incentive exists; you can be married to a Thai for decades, and still be no closer to either - and the work-permit is a separate qualifying step which would, by itself, allow for a different permitted-stay (B-Visa/extension), removing the need for an extension based on marriage in the first place.

 

There are several marriage-specific requirements (some varying by office / unpublished) which stick out as obviously not related to verifying the marriage is de-facto and de-jure.  The pictures would be easily do-able to any faker with his fake-wife.  The landlord-docs (especially beyond what is needed for a TM-30) have nothing to do with whether the couple is living together.  The witness(es) can be bought more easily than the fake-wife. 

 

Then come the really insane add-ons to put people on a merry-go-round to hell: "retake the pictures but showing legs," "add the witness to the bedroom picture", "reprint the pics in a different orientation / number per-page," "use a different type of paper for the pictures", "have the landlord go to an amphoe for a new copy of the house book," "you cannot touch the already-seasoned money until a month or two after applying," "draw the map by hand / no google-map printout," and so on. 


All of these issues, and even the required money, disappear with an agent-application (though he may take some pics), and should not be required in the first place. 

 

Contrast to the things that actually matter / would work in this context.  Updated KR-2 (still legally married), original marriage certificate (somewhat redundant - should verify the KR-2, instead), home-lease OR house-book and map showing where you live.  A home-visit to see you actually live where you said.  Talking to neighbors to see if they have seen you there together. 

 

All of those requirements make sense.  Only the marriage-docs are needed for the agent, though, since there will be no home-visit - so clearly they don't care if you are "really married and living together" - it's all just for show - theater and money.

 

For a security-theater example in the USA, consider the TSA - which has failed every test of stopping undercover agents from getting their fake bomb-device on a plane (last I read up on this), so utterly useless.  Governments like to put people through a wringer on a power trip, just for show, but there is always a money-angle.  In that case, it creates fat govt-contract paychecks for useless "screening" gear (x-rays for luggage and magnetometors for people already did the job) and a bureaucracy.  Here, corruption-money replaces the contractor money.  Same, same.

Edited by JackThompson

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The reason the agent system can bypass the requirements otherwise mandated for extension of stay by retirement or marriage is a loophole in Section 35 of the Immigration Act (1979). There has already been talk to eliminate the 90 day report which is mandated by Section 37 of the Act.

 

Maybe, at the same they might choose to amend the latter, they may choose to amend the former.

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