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Amnesty - Comments from Richard Barrow

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Serious question here....

 

Why do people keep calling what the Thai government did last April an Amnesty, and not an extension?  I have only ever seen it called an extension by the Thai government.  It seems like the whole "it's not an extension, it's an amnesty" meme started with people like Richard Barrow.  But what is the evidence/rationale for this?

 

For example, this comes from the Thialand Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (link below):

 

Thai_Govt_Visa_Extension_Page_1.thumb.jpg.1c42424feb1089ad93e0241906a00a0f.jpg

 

You can download here: http://www.mfa.go.th/protocol/contents/files/news-20200430-212528-840791.pdf

 

Then there is this....

 

1649829131_VisaExtensionAutomatic-English.jpg.12df8472afc1e01c4068eb1075279f75.jpg

 

Put Immigration Bureau, it says that there's no need to extend the visa, do 90 day reporting, pay any fee, or submit any documents, and that the, "Immigration Bureau will process the abovementioned steps automatically".

 

That sure seems to say that they are processing an automatic visa extension, which would clearly not be a visa.

 

Can someone (anyone?) actually point to anything other than comments by tweeters, in these forums, and elsewhere online that this is an amnesty and not an extension?

 

Thanks! 

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https://thethaiger.com/news/national/what-will-happen-to-foreigners-with-expired-visas-after-july-31

What will happen to foreigners with expired visas after July 31?

 

Before you read further, seeking a definitive answer, we don’t have one.

 

But stranded foreigners, who have been able to stay in Thailand via a visa amnesty, have an approaching D-Day – July 31, 2020. This is the sunset of the current amnesty for foreigners who have, through no fault of their own, been stuck in Thailand whilst the borders have been closed. Whilst sitting out the Covid-19 outbreak in the pleasant Thai sunshine, the clock is ticking and the end of the amnesty is in sight.

 

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17 minutes ago, asiacurious said:

Why do people keep calling what the Thai government did last April an Amnesty, and not an extension?  I have only ever seen it called an extension by the Thai government.  It seems like the whole "it's not an extension, it's an amnesty" meme started with people like Richard Barrow.  But what is the evidence/rationale for this?

While you are correct that immigration has been implementing automatic "extensions", those extensions are not implemented under any previously existing law - thus the term "amnesty".

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17 minutes ago, anchadian said:

https://thethaiger.com/news/national/what-will-happen-to-foreigners-with-expired-visas-after-july-31

What will happen to foreigners with expired visas after July 31?

 

Before you read further, seeking a definitive answer, we don’t have one.

 

But stranded foreigners, who have been able to stay in Thailand via a visa amnesty, have an approaching D-Day – July 31, 2020. This is the sunset of the current amnesty for foreigners who have, through no fault of their own, been stuck in Thailand whilst the borders have been closed. Whilst sitting out the Covid-19 outbreak in the pleasant Thai sunshine, the clock is ticking and the end of the amnesty is in sight.

 

I disagree with that part. They knew what was coming for months, they still had ways out even in the middle of pandemic, they just CHOSE not to take it.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, tomazbodner said:

I disagree with that part. They knew what was coming for months, they still had ways out even in the middle of pandemic, they just CHOSE not to take it.

Is there something wrong with people making that choice?  No one asked for a free extension, and many (if not all) were surprised by it.  It seems to have brought a lot of good will towards the Thai government from those who have benefited, perhaps some hostility from those who don't (or wish they could, but can't).

 

If Thailand chooses to extend visas further, either for free or for a fee, would that be a good or bad decision?  

 

 

57 minutes ago, anchadian said:

But stranded foreigners, who have been able to stay in Thailand via a visa amnesty, have an approaching D-Day – July 31, 2020. This is the sunset of the current amnesty for foreigners who have, through no fault of their own, been stuck in Thailand whilst the borders have been closed. Whilst sitting out the Covid-19 outbreak in the pleasant Thai sunshine, the clock is ticking and the end of the amnesty is in sight.

 

What is the origin of this being called an amnesty, is what I'm curious about.

 

 

43 minutes ago, timendres said:

While you are correct that immigration has been implementing automatic "extensions", those extensions are not implemented under any previously existing law - thus the term "amnesty".

This is an interesting idea.  Are visas types, duration, and requirements specifically written into laws as passed by the Thai legislature?  Or are they rules promulgated by the executive branch via administrative agencies, such as Thailand Immigration?

 

It could make a difference.  If they are promulgated rules by an executive branch of government, then could the executive branch - especially under the emergency decree - not promulgate new rules, even if only on a temporary basis?

 

If the types, duration, and requirements are passed by the legislature, then I could see how the extension is an amnesty.  Otherwise, I can't.  (Of course, it doesn't really matter what I or anyone else can or can't see/understand/agree with, though a better understanding of the laws and rule making process here might help shed a better light on the situation.)

Edited by asiacurious

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1 minute ago, asiacurious said:

What is the origin of this being called an amnesty, is what I'm curious about.

I believe it was the press that first coined the term.

Where they got it from I have no clue.

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14 minutes ago, asiacurious said:

Is there something wrong with people making that choice?  No one asked for a free extension, and many (if not all) were surprised by it.  It seems to have brought a lot of good will towards the Thai government from those who have benefited, perhaps some hostility from those who don't (or wish they could, but can't).

 

If Thailand chooses to extend visas further, either for free or for a fee, would that be a good or bad decision?  

I hope Thailand does extend further as abruptly ending it would cause a major chaos. And while I obviously don't know whether they would or not, it was originally extended due to flight restrictions and pandemic around the World. And these haven't changed. If any, they've gotten a lot worse.

But often things are seen through revenue. If these "stranded" foreigners are bringing in needed cash, likelihood is that they'll extend. If they are bringing crime and are burden to society, they might not. Trouble is that governments tend to throw all in the same basket so a couple of <I'll delete it myself> can ruin it for everyone.

It's politicians making decisions. They do what Thai people would like them to do. Farang don't vote.

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15 minutes ago, impulse said:

 

Easy to say, but in a lot of cases, the issue wasn't getting out.  It was getting back in to re-unite with their families or get back to their jobs.

 

Fair statement. But those with jobs in Thailand could come back for a long time (work permit holders were allowed in from the very start if I remember correctly), and those with families would often be on some sort of long term extensions of stay, which I think weren't included in amnesty anyway - I thought Non-B and Non-OA weren't automatically extended, just on arrival and tourist visas? Or did I get that wrong?

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Makes sense to extend everyone 30 days and give option to get a non b in the country. So everybody who wants to stay just pay an agent and get a non b. Those who are not willing to pay will have to leave. 

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4 minutes ago, timendres said:

I believe it was the press that first coined the term.

Where they got it from I have no clue.

It's an excellent point, and I've wondered about that.

 

I thought perhaps that the first time the government extended the visa in April, they may have called it an amnesty.  But even then, they called it an extension.  In fact, at that time they required people to apply for the extension.  It wasn't automatic.

 

From April 10th's Bangkok Post:
 

Quote

 

The government has relaxed visa rules for foreign visitors and those from neighbouring countries holding a temporary border pass since they are unable to leave the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

However, foreigners who work or live in the kingdom, will have to report and apply for visa extensions as usual.

 

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1896700/stranded-foreigners-receive-visa-relief

 

So It seems pretty clear that the first extension was not an amnesty, though that didn't stop various sites, tweeters, youtubers... from calling it an amnesty.  But nobody in the government or press did.  (I could be wrong, but I've searched quite extensively and haven't found anything.)

 

I'd also highlight that the government had the power to change immigration rules via an executive order, so the rules related to visas seem to be promulgated and not legislatively developed.  This begs the question then, if the first extension through executive order was not considered amnesty by the government, why would the second extension be considered amnesty?  (Again, I've found no evidence that the government views it as amnesty; all evidence is that it's an extension, albeit one granted by order automatically without need for application.)

 

To put it succinctly, if the executive can change the rules regarding the number or duration of visa extensions, why can it not also change the method by which they are extended (automatic instead of application)?

 

"Amnesty for foreigners" sounds a lot more clickbaity than "Automatic visa extensions for foreigners" (which is rather prosaic).  Amnesty is a loaded word that can trigger a lot of emotion in people.  Whether it's amnesty for migrants in Europe fleeing conflict areas or amnesty for people crossing the southern boarder of the US... it's bound to get more eyes than dull old "visa extension".

 

There's probably no way to ever know who first called it an amnesty, and in the end it doesn't even really matter.  But if anyone has any links they can share to articles or videos of people in government calling it an amnesty, please do post.

 

 

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From https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/amnesty 

 

"a fixed period of time during which people are not punished for committing a particular crime"

 

Therefore, it COULD be said that had people not been granted permission to stay without extending, or border hopping or whatever, then they would have become criminals simply by staying, so the amnesty prevented that from happening. 

 

OR....from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/amnesty

 

"Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole."

 

So the act of staying would have caused people to commit the offence of overstaying, which would now be a "past offence", thus...amnesty

 

Just my take on it.......the defence rests, M'Lud 😄

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, VBF said:

From https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/amnesty 

 

"a fixed period of time during which people are not punished for committing a particular crime"

 

Therefore, it COULD be said that had people not been granted permission to stay without extending, or border hopping or whatever, then they would have become criminals simply by staying, so the amnesty prevented that from happening. 

 

OR....from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/amnesty

 

"Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole."

 

So the act of staying would have caused people to commit the offence of overstaying, which would now be a "past offence", thus...amnesty

 

Just my take on it.......the defence rests, M'Lud 😄

Excellent dictionary definitions!  Thank you!

 

I would however, argue they strengthen the position that the government has not issued an amnesty of any kind.  Rather, people have been given permission to stay with automatic temporary extensions.  Hence they are not criminals and therefore would not need amnesty.

 

 

And now I realize that I failed to post the 2nd page of that Government notice, in which it states, without any ambiguity, "The period of time permitted for stay in the Kingdom under... [various acts and notifications from the Ministry of the Interior]  shall be temporarily extended from 1 May B.E. 2563 (2020) to 31 July B.E. 2563 (2020)"!

 

My bad for failing to post that before.  Here it is:

 

Thai_Govt_Visa_Extension_Page_2.thumb.jpg.4619c92b7bed618ff9bab5c3e12b4a23.jpg

 

 

Edited by asiacurious
clarified first paragraph
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20 minutes ago, asiacurious said:

Excellent dictionary definitions!  Thank you!

 

I would however, argue they strengthen the position that the government has not issued an amnesty of any kind.  Rather, people have been given permission to stay with automatic temporary extensions.  Hence they are not criminals and therefore would not need amnesty.

 

<snipped for clarity>

Lol 😄

I'm obliged to my learned colleague 

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