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Immigration clarifies Phuket visa run 'crackdown'

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Immigration clarifies Phuket visa run 'crackdown'
Tanyaluk Sakoot

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Myanmar is happy to receive tourists paying for in-out visas at its Kauwthaung checkpoint opposite Ranong. The reception in Ranong may not be so welcoming if Immigration suspect you're not just a tourist.

PHUKET: -- Immigration officers in Ranong and Phuket have clarified the current situation on visa hops that has caused so much concern recently.

What emerges is not a “crackdown” as such, but a more stringent application of existing rules being applied at all border posts in the country.

The Superintendent of Ranong Immigration, Pol Col Ekkor Butsababodin explained to The Phuket News that the tightening of the rules comes in response to the growing number of crimes committed by foreigners in Thailand, and the number of tourists who are thought to be working illegally,

Tourists on visa runs are now being required to provide checkable details of where they are staying, with address and contact numbers. They will also be asked what they will be doing while in Thailand.

Col Ekkor explained, “Immigration officers have found that a lot of tourists staying in Phuket, Krabi, Samui and other tourism places don’t tell the truth. Their information cannot be confirmed by our sources.

“There have been crimes committed by tourists. We also have to accept that some look for ways to work illegally in Thailand. We are fully computerised now with internet connections, so we can check very fast.

“Tourists may renew 30-day or 15-day visas three times. We will check their details every time they come to Immigration.”

One crucial detail Immigration is looking for is evidence that tourists are staying in the places they claim to be staying in.

If Immigration cannot confirm, for three visa runs in a row, where a tourist is staying, then the tourist will get just seven days’ stay and will be told they have to leave Thailand at the end of that time and come back only when they have a new visa from a Thai consulate in another country, stamped in their passport.

In cases where tourists’ accommodation can be confirmed every time they do a visa run, Immigration officials will allow them back in, but after three extensions may not be keen to give them further extension without good cause.

Immigration officers may also ask for proof that tourists have enough money to support themselves for the proposed stay in Thailand before stamping them back in for 15 or 30 days.

It is important to understand that Immigration officials have wide discretionary powers. If, for example, a visa-run tourist can show that he or she is staying in a certain place and has enough money, then a fourth or fifth extension may well be granted.

But if a tourist’s “record” is deficient, or the tourist gives any other sign that he or she is not a genuine, happy-go-lucky tourist, then an attempt at a fourth visa extension is unlikely to be successful.

“To be honest, if they want to work or do business in Thailand [or stay long-term], then they should do it properly [with a non-immigrant visa].

One major aim of tightening the rules is to limit the number of people who arrive as tourists but are in fact planning to commit crimes – skimmers and ATM robbers are recent examples.

The Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, Pol Col Sanchai Chokkayaikij, commented, “Phuket is a tourist destination. So it is a good thing for us to be more careful about who we allow to stay on the island.”

Source: http://www.thephuketnews.com/immigration-clarifies-phuket-visa-run-%E2%80%98crackdown%E2%80%99-46155.php

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-- Phuket News 2014-05-08

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This is the twenty first century. Many people are now making their living on the internet, making their money from other countries and living in Thailand spending their money. These people have no legal means of living in Thailand. Even if they are on a non immigrant O visa, they are still breaking the law, because they don't have a work permit. Thailand should welcome these people. They are not taking jobs from Thais. Most of them make a lot of money and thus spend a lot of money in Thailand helping the economy. Quite a few live in rural areas where their contribution to the economy is well appreciated. Thailand should change their immigration procedures welcoming these people. They should issue work permits for working on the internet and issue non immigrant B visas for this purpose. If the individuals can show proof that they have brought an appropriate amount of money into the country they should get an extension of stay visa. Thailand should also offer an extension of stay visa for the purpose of retirement to any age level if they meet the financial requirements. Many people are inheriting large sums of money from their parents and are retiring early. These people want to live in warm country and many choose Thailand, but have no way of getting a legal visa.

Sent from my i-mobile IQ 6 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

If they meet the financial and other requirements such as over 50, and have the necessary funds in the bank here, in their own name (not the name of their spouse or other), they can apply (outside the country) for a Non-Immigrant Type O visa for retirement.

The financial requirements differ if you are married to a Thai or not (supporting a Thai wife/husband reduces the financial burden as you are seen as contributing to the welfare of a local).

The type O must be extended yearly through Immigration from within the country, or you go get a new one overseas, but the extension is better.

The initial Type O is not deemed to be of any particular sub-category until the first extension, then it becomes "retirement" or "marriage" etc.

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I thought the 'crackdown' we the Immigration boys (and girls) checking people's visas and passports randomly in Phuket.

I think this law has been in operation for a while. When we came back from Battambang last month the Immigration were giving a lot of border runners some real hassle. Held the queue up for hours in the heat.

Why don't people go back to the good old monthly Penang visa run?

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This is the twenty first century. Many people are now making their living on the internet, making their money from other countries and living in Thailand spending their money. These people have no legal means of living in Thailand. Even if they are on a non immigrant O visa, they are still breaking the law, because they don't have a work permit. Thailand should welcome these people. They are not taking jobs from Thais. Most of them make a lot of money and thus spend a lot of money in Thailand helping the economy. Quite a few live in rural areas where their contribution to the economy is well appreciated. Thailand should change their immigration procedures welcoming these people. They should issue work permits for working on the internet and issue non immigrant B visas for this purpose. If the individuals can show proof that they have brought an appropriate amount of money into the country they should get an extension of stay visa. Thailand should also offer an extension of stay visa for the purpose of retirement to any age level if they meet the financial requirements. Many people are inheriting large sums of money from their parents and are retiring early. These people want to live in warm country and many choose Thailand, but have no way of getting a legal visa.

Sent from my i-mobile IQ 6 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

You are right George an each and every one of them could and SHOULD open a company and get a visa linked to that company.

Else you are breaking the Law. You are guest - act like one.

G

PS I did not see your response to a post before responding - I don't see why you can not open a Thai company and link your business to it and get a Visa. I have a friend that has just moved here for 12 months (maybe longer) and has don just that.

G

Edited by fredbasset
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ok so i'll cary a print-screen of my savings account with me ... show it to immigration officer when interrogation starts ... listen to yet another litany about how poor thai people are and how rich farang are and how unfair life is ... been there done that. saai.gif

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