Re-entry ban slashes visa overstayers

Re-entry ban slashes visa overstayers

Thai and foreign travellers check in at Don Mueang airport. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
Thai and foreign travellers check in at Don Mueang airport. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

A ban on foreigners overstaying their visas from re-entering Thailand for between one and 10 years is producing good results as their number fell this month.

The more than 39% decline, from 810,522 in October last year to 486,947 in March, shows “our new measure is effective”, Immigration Bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn said on Friday.

He was speaking at a seminar held in Phuket to publicise the stricter measure against visa overstayers.

The positive outcome of the measure, which had been pushed for earlier this year and only took effect on Sunday, was quickly evident.

The effort is part of a national security policy to prevent transnational crimes. Authorities have found a correlation between crime and people overstaying their visas.

Most arrested by police for overstaying their visas so far were found to have connections with transnational criminal gangs, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said earlier.

According to the ban order, signed on Nov 27 last year, foreign travellers who overstay more than 90 days will not be allowed to re-enter Thailand for one year.

Those who overstay their visas for more than one year will be subject to a re-entry ban of three years.

Anyone found to have overstayed more than three years will be subject to a re-entry ban of five years.

People overstaying for five years or more will banned for 10 years.

Those found to be involved in crimes will be given a five- or 10-year re-entry ban depending on how long they have overstayed.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn insisted this measure will not affect foreigners who are in compliance with Thai laws.

He said the authorities only want to “protect good people and separate bad ones from society”.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn added the measure will help gain the confidence of foreigners who enter and stay in the country legally. He believes the number of overstayers will continue to fall if there is strict enforcement.

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