Expat in Thailand writes to new immigration minister

Published:  7 May at 6 PM
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Following the recent expat outcry about new visa rules, an expat living in Thailand has sent an open letter to the new Thai minister for immigration.

Published in the Bangkok-based English language newspaper The Nation, the letter began with appreciation for the new immigration chief’s admission he wasn’t up to date on matters relevant to his new post. The previous incumbent, it added, seemed not to hear the appalled outcry amongst the estimated hundreds of thousands of expats following the publication of his recently-announced new rules.

The author of the letter’s first point hit the nail on the head by suggesting the targeting of expatriates via profiling is unproductive, as the sector’s crime rate is very low, but targeting the tens of thousands of foreigners arriving daily at all Thailand’s border crossings, airports and ports may well produce more results. Should the immigration authority, he added, cancel the unnecessary million 90 day reports needing to be scrutinised at immigration offices across the nation, the staff thus freed up could be retrained as profilers and employed at all air, land and port crossings.

The letter’s author went on to respectfully suggest three steps which would have the desired results without causing anxiety and fear amongst the legitimate expat community. The first was the cancellation of the 90 day reports, the second point hit on the hiring of proven profiling trainers across the immigration sector, with his third point suggesting a more detailed visitor questionnaire aimed at nationals of certain countries who are known to cause problems. The writer believes this would cut the numbers of immigrants looking to deal in drugs and organise prostitution, especially in Bangkok.

His comments on the present-day expat community in Thailand included the demographic that many are elderly, many have ongoing health problems and many are supporting Thai wives as well as children who’ve been abandoned by their natural fathers. Annual spends by these expats can rise as high as one million baht, as many buy new cars, invest in new homes and willingly ensure their or their Thai wives’ children receive a private education in expensive international schools.

His final paragraph is addressed to the immigration minister, recognising the fact that he is perfectly suited to make positive changes to the way expatriates are now being regarded by Thai officialdom. Should this happen, he adds, genuine expats will stop leaving in droves and keep spending their pensions in the Kingdom, thus benefiting literally hundreds of thousands of Thai people and businesses.
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