During his weekly address, General Prayuth ordered that the Immigration Police be more flexible in the application of immigration laws for visa runners. The Coup Leader was concerned that a harsh application of the law would damage English schools and the tourist industry.
Currently many visa runners are teaching at English or acting as tour guides for foreign tourist where Thais are deficient in the language such as Korean, Japanese, or Russian. With the coming of the ASEAN Community in 2015 and English as the official language of ASEAN, the Thai population routinely scores one of the lowest in English proficiency among the world. In addition, the recent political turmoil over the past year has had devastating effect the nation’s tourism. The recent call for “flexibility” is a spotlight on the economic realities of the time.
However this has been a shock to the government bureaucracy who have been readying themselves for the new stringent immigration rules. The foreign nationals who use visa runs to stay illegally in Thailand are also illegally working without work permits or paying government taxes. The concern is that the General may have quasi-legitimized the illegal activities of the foreign visa runners.
Source: Chiang Mai City News
Mr. Robert R. Virasin serves as legal manager of Siam Legal’s Immigration Division. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science, Mr. Virasin completed his Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston and a Masters of Laws (Business) from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Mr. Virasin is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is a licensed U.S. attorney with over 15 years of legal experience. Robert is a regular contributor and author of a number of immigration related articles.