Thai authorities haven’t made clear decisions about what will occur to thousands of foreigners stranded in Thailand after COVID-19 lockdown took place.
These foreigners have been able to stay in Thailand by way of a visa amnesty, but their clock is ticking. The visa amnesty was granted only until the end of July 31, 2020. With the current plan, the present amnesty for foreigners who’ve, via no fault of their very own, been caught in Thailand whilst the borders have been closed.
While at the moment there exist some opportunities for foreigners to depart or return to Thailand, most are nonetheless unable both on account of a lack of flights or closed borders in their home countries. On the time when the amnesty was introduced, and the July 31 date set, it was hoped that the world would have opened back up. While Thailand has been a success story in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, much of the remainder of the world continues to be battling via its first phase of the illness or coping with isolated spikes.
Thailand’s land borders with Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Laos also stay officially closed to all foreigners until they have permanent residency or permission from the Thai authorities to re-enter.
Travel bubble plans have also been placed on hold for now as Thailand continues to repatriate its residents and allow its first foreigners under special circumstances. The stranded travelers are in no luck, and Thailand reopening its borders before their visas expire doesn’t seem likely.
Now Thai immigration officers are battling with different government departments about the right way to take care of the tens of thousands of affected travelers who’ve been in a position to remain in Thailand until the end of July. It’s a fancy state of affairs where people may have various conditions for Immigration to type out. Even a fast journey across a land border to renew a visa is unlikely under the current scenario.
The existing amnesty allowed foreigners to remain in Thailand without any new paperwork, funds, or extra reporting.
While the current 90-days reporting website hasn’t been working properly for many, the questions remain. What will happen on the first of August?
While the Thai officers scratch their heads with the bureaucratic hoops, we are left to conduct only guesswork.
An extension of the amnesty period is probable, but it’s not something anyone should bet on. The current state of affairs leaves thousands of foreigners untracked and possibly liable for fines for overstay and/or deportation.
There has to be a system in place to both prolong the existing amnesty period or find a new working approach. This is a large task for the Thai government, but a possible mobile application to simplify the bureaucracy involved would be an optimal solution, similar to the Thai Chana contact trace app that has been used for the coronavirus pandemic.
With a lot of the visas processed by shuffling paper round busy workplaces, land checkpoints and airports, the precise monitoring of the foreigners left in Thailand can be a challenge.
The decision to extend the amnesty period is expected within the next few weeks, with a likely grace period taking place. Of course, this is a temporary solution, and the visa problem needs to be addressed at some point, the generosity of your hosts is not going to last forever.
Follow us and we’ll keep you up to date on any updates.
Source: The Thaiger News.
Was this article helpful?
Thailand’s fastest-growing web collective dedicated to sharing our love of Thailand and neighboring South-East Asia.