Govt extends stranded foreigners' stay

Govt extends stranded foreigners' stay

The government has extended the stays of more than 150,000 stranded foreigners -- whose visas have already expired -- until Oct 31, as the global pandemic of Covid-19 continues relentlessly.

The decision to extend the visas for stranded tourists was approved by the cabinet yesterday, since the previous grace period for the foreign visitors had already ended on Sept 26, said Natapanu Nopakun, deputy director-general of Department of Information and deputy spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry.

He added that a visa amnesty for overstaying foreigners stranded in Thailand due to Covid-19 was also approved by the cabinet.

The decision was made on the basis that the global Covid-19 pandemic situation has left large numbers of foreigners, unable to return home, stranded in the country, as well as following discussions of the impact the pandemic has had on the local business sector.

As for foreigners who are still unable to make their returns to their homeland after Oct 31, Mr Natapanu said that they will be required to submit a petition to extend their stay in the kingdom to the immigration authorities by the end of October.

For those who renewed their visas by Sept 26, Pol Maj Gen Pornchai Kuntee, deputy commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, said they would be able to stay until Nov 30.

Over 150,000 foreign nationals are overstaying in the kingdom on tourist visas, according to a source who asked not to be named. Without the cabinet's resolution yesterday, they would have faced charges by the Immigration Bureau.

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