Thai crackdown on visa runs may affect expat workers

Thai crackdown on  visa runs may affect expat workers

Thai crackdown on visa runs may affect expat workers

Border insecurity is mounting after Thailand’s immigration authority announced a crackdown on the number of border crossing runs allowed to be made by those on a visa on arrival.

According to local media, the crackdown is aimed mainly at Russians, South Koreans and Vietnamese who are using the border runs to enable them to work illegally in the country. However, the new regulation allowing one entry of either 15 or 30 days dependent on nationality is likely to cause problems for expats between jobs and overseas workers in the overseas oil, gas and mining industries.

The new single entry rule was introduced without warning at pedestrian border crossings, leaving those expecting another entry trapped outside the country, and will apply to air arrivals from 12 August. Expats working within the kingdom need a work permit and visa specific to each employment, both of which end with the job.

Work permits can take up to three months to process, with many expats using the border runs to cover their stay until a new work permit is issued, after which a flight to a nearby country’s Thai embassy will provide a new visa. This option is now closed.

A good number of expats living in Thailand, many of whom have Thai wives and children, have used the border runs to allow a longer stay between work periods. They are entitled to a multi-entry marriage visa, but this requires a deposit in a Thai bank account of 400,000 baht, around £7,500 and, for those over 50 years of age, a multi-entry non-immigrant O ‘retirement’ visa requires twice that amount.

Another result of the clampdown is that genuine tourists may be restricted to either 15 or 30-day stays without visits to nearby countries’ attractions, unless they can produce an itinerary, hotel booking confirmations, return air tickets and proof of cash to support their travel. Many Western tourists enjoy a visit to Cambodia, Laos or even Vietnam as part of their Southeast Asian trip.

Related Stories:

Latest News: