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A proposal to ease annual application requirements

2 Sep 2020

September 26 is a sad day for many travelers who were unable to find a way to either leave or remain in Thailand as the visa amnesty submitted by the Thai government will expire.

In this stressful time, at least one Thai immigration office seems to be considering any leniency.

Phuket Immigration explicitly discussed the problem for non-immigrant B (Business) visa foreigners who were unable to reach the required income condition for a 1-year license to postpone filing their annual application until a "possible" temporary relief from Bangkok was issued.

The story, reported in The Phuket News, indicates that as before the disease, foreigners who have lived legally and employed on Phuket have not received their usual salaries.

Immigration officials in Phuket accepted that the foreigners already face problems in having their usual request approved for a 1-year permit to stay.

That proposal is NOT an official reprieve or extension to the September 26 deadline, and the Immigration officials in Bangkok will have to make some further announcements.

The visa amnesty, now expanded twice after it was introduced in April, also provides the opportunity to stay in Thailand until September 26 for people with visas that have run out during the amnesty time, including tourist visas.

There has always been a subtle warning that the amnesty will not be extended again.

The Immigration Bureau advised foreigners to begin filing their usual ASAP applications to prevent last-minute rushes up to the deadline of September 26. Foreigners were unable to satisfy the minimum income threshold for a complete one-year residency permit, leaving either the option of a 90-day extension or, in the worst-case situation, needing to leave the country after September 26.

The minimum income required is 50,000 baht per month for foreigners from most Western European countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US.

The minimum requirement for applicants from South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong is 45,000 baht per month.

Foreigners from other Asian countries (except neighbors Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam), as well as applicants from the countries of Eastern Europe, Russia, South Africa, South America, and Central America, or Mexico, have a guaranteed monthly salary of 35,000 baht.

A minimum requirement of 25,000 baht per month from African countries (other than South Africa), or Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Cambodia;

The article states that dozens of Phuket's workers, international and Thai, have had their pay downgraded or have been sacked outright, after earlier this year.

Many businesses remain closed or are struggling with reduced employees, particularly along the west coast.

Deputy chief of Phuket Immigration Office Udom Thongchin says their applicants would not be able to be accepted as the requirements were not fulfilled.

"I understand that the situation has affected the income of the businesses employing foreigners. It has affected monthly income for everybody. Income is not enough for applications for foreigners. This affects foreigners in Phuket and other provinces, but no changes or updates have been provided to the regulations on permit-to-stay extensions.".

He acknowledged that immigration officials in Bangkok "considered the issue and might offer some relief." He says foreigners who are unable to fulfill the minimum income requirement can delay filing their requests.

"Please wait for an announcement from the Thai government after September 15, because Bangkok Immigration officials are reviewing this topic to sort out the problem. I hope they will have some answers before September 26, which is the last date for an extension to apply.

On August 31 the amnesty for filing reports of 90 days for foreigners with current and valid permits expired. According to immigration authorities, immigrants who missed the deadline are still in violation of the 90-day reporting rules and will be charged 2,000 baht.

Source: Thaiger