Picture: TNA

Big Joke: Promises easier, faster and more “watertight” Immigration rules

As immigration officials prepared to present proposals for a new Immigration Act to a ministerial committee yesterday chief Lt-Gen Surachate Hakparn outlined what it would mean to visitors and expatriates in Thailand.

Speaking to TNA the chief said that the 1979 act was out of date and not in line with modern countries.

Thailand was the third most visited country in the world and while not a direct target for criminals was a place where those up to no good would hide out under the guise of being tourists.

The Lt-Gen suggested that one of the best ways to solve this problem was to ensure that hotel and condo owners report the whereabouts of foreigners. The man known as Big Joke even went so far as to specifically mention “people of colour and South Africans” as a problem.

Over the last two years these people and others have been a problem and if the immigration police know where they are that will be a help.

Better screening of potential visitors to Thailand is also being proposed in the new regulations. This includes the use of the Advanced Passenger Processing System (APPS) that will speed things up.

Channel 7 TV reported that the chief wanted to make things easier, faster and more watertight.

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence that includes ten finger fingerprinting and iris recognition technology would speed up applications and make them harder to circumvent.

Channel 7 said that in the past warnings to people such as hotel owners and condo owners for failing to report foreigners in their properties would now be replaced by fines.

Thaivisa earlier reported proposals that 10,000 baht fines might be levied if the minister agrees.

There are also changes to business visas and extensions of stay based on people who have children or who are married to Thais.

Exactly what these are – or indeed if they are anything new that has not already been reported – remains to be seen.

But Channel 7 mentioned specifically the problem of agents handling visa extensions and the issue of having 800,000 baht in the bank.

They said the chief had promised to make doing business in Thailand easier.

Passport visa stamps are also set to change – one looking like a flag will be used for entry and one resembling an ear of rice will be used for exit.

The ministerial committee was scheduled to meet and discuss the proposals yesterday afternoon with TNA saying that Defense Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan was keen to put his own ideas on the table.

Source: Channel 7

By Eddie