Immigration clampdown on NE border
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Immigration clampdown on NE border

Immigration police in Northeastern provinces will tighten inspections to prevent people from neighbouring countries entering Thailand to work illegally by posing as tourists - and foreigners who send their passports on border runs.

The mock-up of an immigration counter at a permanent checkpoint in Nakhon Phanom.

Pol Maj Gen Chartchai Iamsaeng, superintendent of immigration police 4 (northeastern region), said Monday morning that a thorough examination of foreign visitors’ information found some irregularities. Some foreigners re-enteredThailand about 60 times. On each entry, the foreigner is allowed to stay in Thailand for 15-30 days.

The police found that some foreigners enter Thailand to work in jobs like security guards, factory workers, cooks or even beggars. They mostly come from countries in Asean especially Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The immigration police will from now on be strict on entries, and prepare lists of people who illegally enter the kingdom, including those who have been arrested in 20 Northeastern provinces. 

Immigration offices at permanent checkpoints in three provinces – Nong Khai, Mukdahan and Ubon Ratchathani – are instructed to screen foreign visitors who enter Thailand more than four times with no good reason. The officers will also look into the credibility of those visitors to consider whether to deny them entry. The instruction will be applied to visitors of all nationalities.

The immigration police found that about 2,000 Vietnamese travelled via Thailand to work in Malaysia, so the checks wil lbe extended to include that possibility.

Pol Maj Gen Chartchai also said electronic processing and identity scanning machines will be installed at all entry checkpoints nationwide as part of the measures to combat smuggling of undeclared and illegal goods. The database will be linked at all checkpoints. 

Thailand currently has more than 40,000 foreigners on its blacklist, so the checkpoints have to carefully examine  visitors, he said. 

Harsh penalties will also be handed out to immigration officers found involved in illegal practices. A senior officer had been fired after it was revealed that he conspired with a group of foreigners to put entry stamps in passports of people who did not show up in person at the checkpoint. This practice could jeopardise national security, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Chartchai was speaking senimar of immigration officers from 58 permanent checkpoints nationwide at a hotel in Khon Kaen.  

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