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BANGKOK 22 May 2019 16:58
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PeaceBlondie

Police Check Requirements

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It is a shame really that it such a mess.

Perhaps they'd like all the kids to speak Chinese?

Or maybe they just don't want the kids to get ideas of their own. :o

Edited by Robski

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For us Yankees (okay, us estadounidenses), we could try for the FBI check.

I would imagine the FBI check would hold up pretty well. Also easy to do, if you go to the the FBI site they have all the information and documents for download. UK may have a similar agency (federal).

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I am hearing more people mention that you also need a background check from your home country ( in addition to the paperwork you must get from Bangkok). Nothing confirmed. Can anyone verify this?

Edited by sweetbear

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It's true that nothing is confirmed about requirements either way for police checks, in Thailand or from your "home" country. If anyone who's been through the process recently would post about it, that would be a big help- it's possible that no one is going through the process these days, as difficult as everything seems to be getting...

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For us Yankees (okay, us estadounidenses), we could try for the FBI check.

I would imagine the FBI check would hold up pretty well. Also easy to do, if you go to the the FBI site they have all the information and documents for download. UK may have a similar agency (federal).

Thanks, tywais, for the website advice. I went there (www.fbi.gov) and they have the cover sheet, and a sample of the fingerprint card. However, since the genuine article is a heavyweight card, you can't print it off on your printer. I called the US embassy in Bangkok, and a nice Thai gentleman there said I can get the fingerprint cards there, or at the Chiang Mai Consulate General.

So, a prospective teacher (who of course wouldn't be working YET), first visits the embassy or consulate (which in northern Thailand is twice a week, during school hours). Then he or she goes to the immigration police to get their fingers printed. Then, the teacher sends it to the FBI in Amurica. Then, according to the FBI website, it takes them 8 to ten weeks (that's eight to 10 weeks), to send it back. Add in a few more weeks for international mail, and you're looking at 13 weeks. Yes, three full months (during which of course the teacher isn't working YET). Then add in however many weeks it takes Dr. Khun Sir Ajarn Somchaikorn to figure out how to write the letter requesting the work permit from the department of l-a-b-o-u-r, and how long it takes junior assistant Lekachacha to process the paperwork, and.......

Let me shout it in upper case: AT THIS TIME, IT APPEARS IMPOSSIBLE TO TEACH LEGALLY IN THAILAND. DON'T EVEN TRY.

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When I lived & worked in Argentina 6 years ago, all that I required was an Australian Federal Police clearance, which simply stated that I had no criminal record up until the date of the clearance letter. This can be obtained by going to any police station in Australia, paying a small fee & then getting your fingerprints taken. The whole process takes up to 1 month but I got my letter back within 2 weeks.

My Argentinian employer was satisfied with this VERY CHECKABLE document & I was not required to get a clearance from the Argentinian authorities as I had not been in the country long enough (less than 3 months).

I imagine that the Thai authorities would like to do a similar thing but if they think that they are going to get the signature of the Australian police officer who took my fingerprints, they've got another think coming.

If things don't become a little more reasonable soon, I'm changing countries.

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The nice guy at the Amerkan Embassy told me the Immigration Police might be able to do the fingerprinting (or some other local police force). But the authorities back home are strict about getting perfect prints, so you might find out 3 months later that you hadn't started the process YET after all.

I recommend that we all recommend to our friends not to come here to teach. At all.

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what is the problem with police checks??

all thai must do the fingerprint etc thing in order to go and work in any foreign country; most countries have a formal request and the the thai go and do it in the main police headquarters in bangkok... there's also a place in the famous brochure i once mentioned that describes what foreigners have to do if they are already in thailand etc.

also here in the holyland, not only do u have to do a police record thing in order to work even on a factory line as joe smo , but for many many jobs, u have to do a security clearance thing, plus a graphology test (handwriting test believe it or not!!!) to see that u arent really a serial hair plucker or something...

if u have no criminal record, what's the deal?? if u do, then anyone employeeing u has the right to know (or maybe i've been living in a country that is also a bit totalitarian about these things also?)

guess i've been out of the states too long or something or maybe u all take your liberty and freedom for granted.....

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The problem most teachers here in Thailand (and the ones who will be trying to get here) is not the idea of police checks- actually they're a very good idea, and I don't think my one lack-of-proof-of-automobile-registration from 15 years back is going to cause too much trouble for me. I'd welcome the opportunity to get rid of some of the riffraff here (let's institute them for *all* tourists, too).

The problem is the logistics. Those who are already familiar with the way things work here know that typically, you don't even get hired until about 1 week before you are supposed to start working. To start working legally requires the non-immigrant B visa (available pretty much only from abroad), a teacher's license from the MOE (for which this police check has now become only one of the requirements), a work permit from the department of labour, and then a visa extension contingent on all of these documents. It's already a farce to assume that anyone can work legally at a new job in Thailand (typically, even if the school is serious about paperwork it will take at least a few months)- adding another few months to this timeline for the foreign police checks to be processed (because the school has to request them) means that you're looking at a minimum of 6 months at a job before anyone can manage to work legally at that job. This is far too long, and serious teachers are going to stop considering Thailand as an option.

THAT's the problem with police checks.

Perhaps the pressure to get paperwork in order will finally cause schools to hire sufficiently far in advance- but they're going to have slim pickings hiring from abroad for the kind of wages they'll tend to offer- and I have the feeling that pressure from the schools is more likely to change the regulation than the regulation is likely to change the schools.

From the security point of view, incidentally, I don't think Israel is the best model for how an average country should manage its affairs- for what I hope are the obvious reasons.

"Steven"

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Hi guys,

Do not look only to the issue concerning English teachers, there are more serious affairs:

- What about the moslim imans teaching religious affairs? It is clear that a check is necessary to see if they are related to islamic extremists but on the other hand, as there are some moslim schools you have to recruit some people able to teach in those schools.

- following September 11, in Aviation Schools, the background of the Flight Instructor is systematically checked by Interpol, it is a worldwide procedure instigated by USA, well understood and comprehensively applied by everybody: it takes around a month to proceed.

-to be smart, a Government cannot make the difference between English, religious or Aviation teachers, as teaching is sensitive because it has some influence on young brains, this request is absolutely understandable. About how it is applied, this is an other story. But you should make the difference.

Regards

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Perhaps the pressure to get paperwork in order will finally cause schools to hire sufficiently far in advance- but they're going to have slim pickings hiring from abroad for the kind of wages they'll tend to offer- and I have the feeling that pressure from the schools is more likely to change the regulation than the regulation is likely to change the schools.

"Steven"

Just what are the 'jungle drums' saying on these matters?

Things do seem to be coming to a head, where you and PB were once advising patience, you both seem to have enough of hitting your head against a brick wall. It's not getting better.

These matters are out of our hands so what are Thai schools saying about the impact of all these policies and the minefield that the MoE are creating, do you have any info?

Edited by Robski

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robski, I don't know what most Thai schools think, and I'm not sure that Ijustwannateach knows, either. We're moderators, not gurus. Most Thai schools don't know and never knew. Some of them don't think at all about these issues. They never knew diddly squat about how to help farang teach in Thailand: visas, work permits, teacher's licenses. They - the bosses in Thai schools - do not learn; they're just bosses with lots of other problems to solve.

Many schools have only a handful of farang teachers, who work there illegally. Many schools consider the farang to be a standard-issue widget: hire one more when the last one quits. Only the best Thai schools work hard to keep their best foreign teachers.

A rajabat teacher just quit over this issue of impossible paperwork that her university couldn't resolve. The lady there, who's looking for a replacement, probably doesn't have a clue. They think you can rent an endless supply of illegal, complacent farang at Tesco-Lotus.

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We're moderators, not gurus.

Sorry PB if you felt I was sniping, I think most of us would look to you or IJWT for a good answer and there in fact you gave one.

This situation looks like it will cause more illegal working not less and lot more teachers having to work through agencies.

I know a while ago the head of schools in the Phuket area was organising some kind of protest to the MoE, but didn't hear any more about it, I wondered wether there was any kind of teaching union, and what they may think of the situation. Sorry! getting ahead of myself again..

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We're moderators, not gurus.

Sorry PB if you felt I was sniping, I think most of us would look to you or IJWT for a good answer and there in fact you gave one.

This situation looks like it will cause more illegal working not less and lot more teachers having to work through agencies.

I know a while ago the head of schools in the Phuket area was organising some kind of protest to the MoE, but didn't hear any more about it, I wondered wether there was any kind of teaching union, and what they may think of the situation. Sorry! getting ahead of myself again..

No man, you weren't sniping at all. And you caught me in a negative, flippant mood. The Phuket schools' protest to the MoE (which was on a regional level, I believe) seems to be off the radar screen now. Since the right hand of govt. often doesn't know what the right hand is doing, I doubt that in these more turbulent times, the MoE guys and the MoL gals are even having lunch together, let alone coordinating policy and procedures with the MoFA people and the Police Immigration folks. And to be modest, I imagine that we few farang teachers are the least of their problems. If they think about us at all (which is seldom if ever), those potentates at the ministries probably don't realize that a paperwork jungle that was nearly impenetrable, is now impossible.

I was warned (by Ijustwannateach, in fact) that my first year or two, teaching in Thailand, might be illegal. He was 100% right, in spite of my reasonable efforts to convince the old-boy schools to get with the 26th century. I can not imagine what it is like, to teach with a proper work permit, teacher's license, criminal background check, etc. I have no hope to ever know.

Oh, there are such animals, such farang teachers, roaming around in a few jungles like Bangkok, who are as legal as Thaksin Sh. ever was. They'd have a newcomer believe that staying legal is just a 90 minute trip down to the ministry offices once a year, in the university's chauffered car. Hah!

Newcomers: don't come to Thailand to teach. Don't even get on the airplane. Most of the Thai schools don't want you here, at least badly enough that they'll get off their chairs to help you become legal.

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From what I can tell, the average school is as clueless, or hapless, or both, as most foreign teachers. However, the history most of them have of leaving these important bureaucratic issues (which are at least jointly their responsibility) unresolved, I have no doubt about their likely reaction for the short term: heads in the sand, hands over eyes, ears, and mouth, half-pretending to know nothing until disaster arrives.

I think the big collisions will start to occur when the worst-managed of the lot do their knee-jerk ritual firing at term-ends and then suddenly realise there's no one left to hire, or that those they do hire are uncertifable at one ministry or another. It's highly unlikely they will see this as something they will have to change their businesses over; they're much more likely to attempt to change the regulations back to the old impenetrable mess.

If the new regulations were PROPERLY IMPLEMENTED, POSSIBLE, and ENFORCED, they would actually help most of the better teachers in the long run- it would mean that the pool of legally hireable teachers would shrink, wages would rise, and schools would have to treat their teachers better, rather than throwing them away as if they could be replaced at Tesco (I liked that image, PB!) However, it's extremely unlikely that the number of Thais who will suffer from going ahead with realistic regulations (which is not even what we have now) would permit them to be implemented or revamped with a view towards making them possible (not to mention enforcement). They'll just throw the baby out with the bathwater in relief.

It is a rather sad comment that a recent meeting of the Phuket "protest" schools was attended by some of the worst and most dubious Bangkok schools and their representatives- all of which are threatened by any political move which threatens their ill-managed throw-away teacher management style. These are not the kinds of people any decent teacher or human being should want to find himself aligned with, and in fact our motives as teachers should be entirely different. Rather than asking them to scrap the good ideas behind some of the regulations (police checks, licenses, proper visas), they should be integrated in a clear and transparent way both to protect the teachers from dodgy schools and officials and to protect the schools (and children- it's all about the children, right?) from dodgy teachers; and these should be INTRODUCED IN A MANAGEABLE WAY so that everyone has time to adjust and the schools and teachers don't just throw up their hands and say (quite reasonably), "That's impossible, stupid!" That's the result the dodgy schools are hoping for, because business as usual was fine by them.

I'm not as bitter as PB because I did eventually find a legal roost here; but it took far too long and I wouldn't have gone through it if I'd known how it was going to be. I'm just lucky I insisted on finishing the process; lord knows what kind of mess I'd be in if I hadn't- well, actually, I can guess what kind of mess: the same kind of mess that hundreds or thousands of teachers without legal paperwork are in right now, the kind that so many of us have been in for years, unprotected and underpaid. It's time for that to change.

"Steven"

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