The move is to prevent foreigners from having to leave the country in order to obtain the correct visa to work in Thailand.
The appeal follows The Phuket News being informed that many teachers in Phuket have had their applications refused to change visa types from a tourist visa to “Non-imm B” so they could be hired to work as a teacher.
The Phuket News had also been informed that Phuket Immigration had refused to accept applications to extend permits to stay for teachers who had already entered the country on a Non-imm B visa.
The reason given by Phuket Immigration officers to the foreigners for refusing to accept their applications was that the foreigners had a ‘visa amnesty extension’ stamp put in their passports by immigration allowing them to stay in the country under the visa amnesty, which will expire tomorrow (Oct 31).
Phuket Immigration officers told the foreigners that the ‘visa amnesty stamp’ had made their previous visa “null and void” – and that in order to get a new Non-imm B visa, the foreigner must leave the country to obtain the visa from an embassy and then come back.
This was despite The Phuket News having obtained a copy of an internal order by Royal Thai Police Pol Deputy Commissioner Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk to the Ministry of Education on Sept 16 explaining that immigration officers around the country would convert tourist visas to Non-imm B visas so that foreigners may start work as teachers, and that Non-imm B visas – and any other kinds of visas – would be extended so that foreigners would not have to leave the country.
Of note, the National Police Policy Board, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, agreed unanimously on Aug 28 to promote Pol Gen Suwat to become the new national police chief, replacing Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda. Gen Suwat’s promotion was to be effective Oct 1, pending royal endorsement.
“I have never seen this document,” Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Lt Col Udom Thongchin told The Phuket News this morning (Oct 30).
Asked why a Phuket Immigration officer would refuse to accept an application to change visa status or refuse to accept an application to extend a permit to stay simply because of the ‘visa amnesty stamp’, Lt Col Udom was silent.
Regardless, Lt Col Udom urged any foreigners who had been told they must leave the country in order to obtain a new visa so that they could continue their stay in Thailand – and most importantly to work in Thailand – to file their applications as soon as possible.
“We will abide by the conditions set out in the document [the notice issued by Gen Suwat],” Lt Col Udom said.
“All foreigners have been allowed to stay in the country on visa amnesty, and this includes those on Non Immigration B visas. If that is the visa they entered the country on, that is the same visa they will be allowed to extend their stay on,” he said.
“But to have their applications accepted and approved, the foreigners must present all the documents required,” Lt Col Udom cautioned.
“If they file their applications on Monday, there will be no penalty fines issued,” he said
“Please do this on Monday. If they file their applications on Tuesday or later, they will be fined for overstay from Sunday [Nov 1],” Lt Col Udom warned.
The Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town will close at 4:30pm today (Oct 30).
The office will not be open tomorrow, the last day of the visa amnesty (Oct 31).