Thailand targets visa ‘over-stayers’ in surreal video

Thailand’s immigration department has announced a crackdown on foreigners who overstay their visas, and posted a video on the subject that one expat news website declared “has to be seen to be believed”.

“Good guys in, bad guys out” is the message on the website  of the Thai Immigration Bureau from Pol. Lt. Gen. Nathathorn Prousoontorn, Immigration Bureau commissioner,  as Thaivisa.com – the expat news website that broke the story initially last week, and then followed up with further details, including the fact of the video over the weekend – is reporting.

The new, harsher regulations are due to come into force on 20 March.

At present, foreigners who overstay their visas have to pay of a fine of 500 Baht (US$13.75, £9.64) per day – up to a maximum of 20,000 Baht – but are not banned from returning to Thailand immediately.  Under the new rules, though, those who overstay their visas face being banned from re-entering Thailand for one to 10 years, depending on how long they’ve overstayed.

Visa “over-stayers” who turn themselves in to the Thai authorities will be dealt with more leniently, according to the government.

The details are spelled out in the video, by a cartoon character in a military uniform. He concludes by saying, “If you are the one who loves Thailand, please strictly follow the Thai regulations.”

The 2 minute, 30-second Thai immigration department video, pictured, may be viewed by clicking here.

Longtime expats in Thailand say the visa issue is one that they must constantly be aware of.

Commenting on the Thaivisa.com website, several expats observed with wry humour the way expats who overstay their visas are portrayed. One summed up the video’s takeaways as: “Only men overstay; it’s OK to come to Thailand and commit crimes, like theft, online scams, and ATM card skimming as long as you don’t overstay your entry stamp or visa; [and] Thai immigration officials have curiously Western accents”.

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