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Blacklisting Beckons Visa Overstayers

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The interwebs went wild in the summer of 2014 when a proposal by the Immigration Bureau to ban those who had overstayed their Thai visa for up to ten years was announced.

At the time it was a huge story and talked about on forums and blogs for weeks, however, the document was never signed or published in the Royal Gazette so didn’t come into force despite warnings being posted in immigration offices around the country and on some routine paperwork.

Talk of the blacklisting proposal has bounced around ever since with occasional mentions. It resurfaced again in the mainstream news around mid October when a revised version was approved by the Interior Ministry and put before the Prime Minister.

thailand-blacklisted

Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prausoontorn announced on Wednesday 9th December that the PM had approved and signed the latest proposal on November 27th adding he expects the new rules to come into force around the end of March, beginning of April 2016.

The reason for the three month delay in implementing the approved blacklisting ban isn’t clear.

Under the new regulations, overstayers who turn themselves in would be banned from re-entering Thailand for one year if their overstay period exceeds 90 days.

The ban extends to three years if the offender has overstayed more than one year with those exceeding three years banned for five years. Anyone who has an overstay of more than five years will be blacklisted for 10 years. All bans start from the day violators leave Thailand.

The penalties for offenders arrested are much harsher with anyone caught overstaying less than a year facing a five year ban and those overstaying more than one year unable to return to the Kingdom for 10 years.

thai-visa-overstay-blacklist-rules

Overstaying is common because the penalties are weak and outdated. Offenders are fined 500 baht per day, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht with no restrictions on re-entry. Those who cannot pay their fine are jailed equal to 200 baht a day before being deported.

With blacklisting beckoning I’m curious if immigration officers and police will be pro-active in hunting down overstayers as it appears on the surface they are more than capable of tracing anyone staying in Thailand illegally as we have seen in recent months.

A squad of officers doing random checks around the Sukhumvit strip would be a good place to start and likely turn up plenty of violators, at the same time clearing the area of the African undesirables who conduct their criminal business out in the open every night.

Expat numbers in Pattaya could drop dramatically too if regular visa checks were to be carried out as that seems to be where most of the overstay stories covered here come from.

No doubt expats and tourists won’t be happy if spot checks around the country were to become the norm but I could care less. It’s easy to carry a laminated credit card sized copy of your main passport page with the visa page on the reverse to prove your legal status. The real thing can stay safely locked up in the safe at home or hotel and be presented if required.

If the new rules do become law next year I wonder will the guys who have been here for 20 years without a visa do something about their status or carry on as they have been? I’ve heard of quite a few people living in Bangkok for decades with no visa. How they manage it I’ve no idea. Maybe they just stay holed up leaving their rooms only to buy supplies but it can’t be much of a life knowing you could be arrested and jailed for something you could easily sort out with a few thousand baht.



Stickboy aka Sticky Boy aka Mike McKay aka Mike McKwai, Wild Mike, Magic Mike, Mr Mike, and a fair few more best forgotten, is a party animal with hollow legs who loves music, current affairs, beer, food, causing trouble on Twitter, and making the most of life without worrying too much about what people think or say about his antics. You can send him stuff here - stickboybkk@gmail.com

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Opinion

The Countdown Is On And Time Is Running Out Fast For Some

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The Countdown Is On And Time Is Running Out Fast For Some

The visa amnesty in Thailand ends this weekend and the clock is ticking for tens of thousands who still don’t know what to do, can’t get an extension, can’t leave and return to activate another 90 days on their multiple entry visas and of course, those that claim they are “stuck” here when in fact they just don’t want to return home.

Those claiming they are stuck deserve no sympathy. Nobody is “stuck” anywhere.

Six months have past and many have enjoyed an extra half year in Thailand without worrying about their visa situation. I’ve read hundreds of stories over the past few months from people with far fetched tales that have more holes in them than an 18-hole golf course.

The bottom line is some people love it here and don’t want to leave but they can’t get a visa as they don’t have a job, don’t have a wife or mostly, don’t have the cash to support a visa application that requires money in the bank.

Agents having made a mint charging in the region of 55-70,000 baht for Volunteer visas. Others are cooking the (bank) books for those seeking a retirement visa and coining it in charging inflated fees knowing people are desperate to stay.

On the other hand, many who were here legally before the COVID carry on kicked in are in a difficult position.

Married men and woman who have a Non-O multiple entry visa spring to mind.

Those using this method of living in Thailand long term arrive with a shiny new visa sticker in their passport and get a 90-day stamp upon arrival at the airport.

Just before the 90 days is up they have 2 choices:

– do a border hop and get another 90 days when they come back into the country
– go to immigration and get a 60-day extension for 1900 baht.

With the country closed to international travellers, those border hops just aren’t possible and some have found during the past six months their visas have expired leaving them unable to pop over to Savannakhet where they could apply for a new one.

Those still with time left on their visa are now in a jam too as they can’t exit and re-enter.

For reasons unknown, the government nor immigration have addressed or come up with a solution for those in this situation.

So come Saturday 26 September, they are left with no choice but to either leave or stay and face prosecution and blacklisting from Thailand if they are caught.

Some have been given an extra 60 days for visiting family that sees them through until late November, but what then if the borders are still shut?

And that’s me just talking about people living here on a multiple entry marriage visas.

There are thousands of other stories and situations that will see people forced to leave or ignore the warnings of being fined and blacklisted who choose to remain and take their chances until borders reopen allowing them to do what is needed to live here legally.



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Opinion

Fantasy Footbun

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Fantasy Footbun

With the 2020 / 2021 football season about to start, it is time to test your footy knowledge and compete against the best of the best of Thailand Twitter’s Wannabe Football Managers.

With the first Gameweek closing on 12th September at 5pm (Thai time) there’s still some time to turn off Pornhub, clean yourself up and sign up for the league. And for god’s sake put some clothes on. (League code: q93lfx).

Let us kick things off with a look at the (currently) 23 teams competing in the Thai Twitter League.

We have two accounts new to Fantasy Premier League, Johan B’s ‘Digiman’ and Anthony M’s ‘Siam Swoon’. Time will tell if they pick up the rules quick enough to enjoy the game and do not lose interest by Christmas and languish at the bottom with a team full of injuries and nobodies.

At the other end of the table, the three teams with the highest score in the 2019-2020 season were:

1. 2313 : Cain in the Kok – Paul C

2. 2283 : Lockdown City – Alec P

3. 2281 : One Man Clapping – Nick W

Three managers looking to improve on last year’s total are Expat Asia’s ‘Sukhumvit FC’, Tim P’s ‘Maximum20characters’ and Johan J’s ‘FarangPilot FC’ that finished with 1729, 1920 and 1913 points respectively.

There is still time to join! Log in via the Premier League app or on the website fantasy.premierleague.com and use this code to sign up for the Thailand Twitter League. League code: q93lfx



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Opinion

Tales From The Front: Sunday Dinner On A Saturday Night

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Stickboy, Fatface, and The Keeper are sat in a British pub on lower Sukhumvit on a Saturday night…

A gathering of the clan earlier in the evening for some birthday beers meant Stickboy’s belly needed filling before meeting back up with everyone who had gone in different directions ahead of the cake cutting ceremony at Lighthouse sometime around 10pm.

Somchai The Dog had popped in for a couple of shandies but was looking like a burst couch and was having none of it ordering takeout before disappearing into the dark Bang Na bound on the BTS.

The other half of the Dangerous Duo, Digiman, wasn’t ready for home just yet but had no interest in food.

The Keeper orders quesadillas while smooth-talking his missus, girlfriend or gik – maybe all three – and wasn’t paying attention to much as Fatface orders Chips & Curry sauce for Stickboy.

sunday roast on a saturday night

The food arrives, everyone digs in, more beer is ordered to wash down the grub as all four eat what’s sat on the table.

The Keeper is still on the phone like an old sweetie wife and starts making space on the table with his free hand when a waitress arrives over his shoulder with another plate of food.

He clears a space in front of Fatface and Stickboy who look at each other thinking that’s an odd place to put a roast dinner they both think The Keeper has ordered for himself.

He ends his call and tucks into the roast pork telling everyone to help themselves which they do.

Chips are in the gravy, potatoes are in the curry sauce and the plate is emptying at a fair pace as four mouths feast on the Sunday dinner.

More than halfway through the food a member of the service staff appears and starts talking to The Keeper with Fatface joining in.

Something is amiss.

“Hey Stickboy, did you order the pork roast?”, enquires The Keeper.

“No mate, I thought you did.”

In his best Shaggy voice, he fires back, “It wasn’t me”.

It turns out some poor bloke sat at the bar was sitting patiently waiting on his dinner the staff had wrongly delivered that the four scavengers had all but demolished each of them thinking someone else at the table fancied a Sunday dinner on a Saturday night.

sunday roast on a saturday night

The four grubbers thought this was hilarious and all just shrugged their shoulders laughing having told the service staff to take it away… until Stickboy’s bin arrived with a Roast Pork Loin at 295 baht on it.

He wasn’t laughing any more.

Had it not been for the fact his mates own the pub he’d likely have upset the waitresses with a few choice words having been billed for something he didn’t order with zero conversation between staff and customer over what was a genuine mistake on the part of everyone involved.



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