New overstay rules to take effect soon
Stricter punishments for those overstaying their visas will take effect from March 20 as part of government efforts to crack down on transnational crime.
Under new Interior Ministry regulations, foreign travellers who overstay more than 90 days will be banned from re-entering the country for one year, Immigration Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn said.
People who overstay more than one year, will face a re-entry ban of three years.
Those found to have overstayed more than three years will be subject to a re-entry ban of five years.
People found guilty of overstaying more than five years will be barred from re-entering the country for 10 years, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said.
Foreigners caught in criminal cases and who also overstay will be barred from re-entering the country for five years, he said.
The bureau is now in the process of informing hotels, educational institutions and private companies that employ or deal with foreigners about the new measures, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said.
He said almost all overstayers who have been apprehended were found to have links to transnational crime. The new regulations are expected to reduce the number of transnational criminals using this country, he said.
Scores of overstayers have now surrendered to authorities, he added, without elaborating.
Pol Col Pakkapong Sai-ubol, head of Immigration Division 6, which oversees the southern region, said Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn and his deputy, Pol Maj Gen Pakpoom Sajjapan, have instructed relevant agencies to make sure foreigners are made aware of the new rules.
The measures are part of a national security policy to which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda give weight, he said.
He also called on the public to inform the Immigration Bureau about offences committed by foreigners.