The requirements were confirmed by Pol Sen Sgt Maj Nounphan Srijow, designated as a ‘Squad Leader’, who refused an application on these grounds earlier today (May 3).
The requirement for a foreigner to provide a copy of a Chanote title for a property the foreigner does not own appears to be an attempt by Phuket Immigration to hold foreigners staying in Phuket responsible under Section 38 of the Immigration Act, which applies only to landlords and “householders”.
During the TM30 debacle, it was confirmed by previous Phuket Immigration chiefs that applications for one-year permits to stay will not be refused for information that foreign applicants are not required to provide under Immigration laws.
Phuket Immigration Chief Pol Col Thanet Sukchai today dodged the question whether the officer was today legally empowered to refuse the application on the grounds above. He presumed the officer has the right.
Col Thanet recently ramped up efforts to have landlords and “householders” report to immigration any foreigners staying at the premises, and has started fining people ‒ namely Thai nationals ‒ for not abiding by the law. He has even issued ‘yellow cards’ to warn landlords of the seriousness of their transgression.
Regarding the photographs required of inside the home where the foreigner is staying, The Phuket News has previously been informed of one incident when a foreigner was asked to do a ‘walk-through’ of the home where he was staying to show an immigration officer through a video chat on a mobile phone what the home looked like ‒ a procedure that normally requires a search warrant approved by a court for an officer to enforce.
Col Thanet Sukcha told The Phuket News today, “It’s the Phuket Crime-Free scheme. If a foreigner is staying in a place, the person must have photos to prove that he or she is really staying [there].
“For the title deed, I am not sure what [job] he does. The enforcement is very strict now. It is not a rejection but the documents [required] are not complete and [the immigration officer] just asked [in order] to gather all the documents required. If the documents are complete, the visa will be extended,” Col Thanet said.
However, The Phuket News was present today when the application was flatly refused without the copy of the Chanote title deed and photos of the interior of the house, including the bedroom. It was not a request; it was a requirement.
Asked specifically about the need for a foreigner renting a property being required to present a copy of the Chonte title deed, Col Thanet said, “It’s back to the question of what job he [the foreigner] does… It is case by case.
“There are basic documents that are required with a checklist but the extra documents are considered request case by case which depends on the immigration agent’s consideration.”
Of note, the officer today required a copy of the reverse side of the Chanote title also be provided, ensuring that Phuket Immigration is aware of any financial encumbrances on the property.
“For a one-year extension, I am not the one who approves. I am only the middleman sending the request [for visa extension] to Hat Yai [home of Immigration Division 6 headquarters] for approval there and if the documents are not ready, it will go as a circle nonstop, Col Thanet said, alluding that he is only following orders.
“You can ask [the foreigner] to pass his passport to [the reporter] and explain what was the issue and what type of visa he is extending. I can have a look and sort out what is the problem,” Col Thanet offered.
The foreigner whose application was flatly refused without the “extra documents” today is a British national who has been living and working ‒ fully legally ‒ in Phuket for more than 20 years.
As reported to Phuket Immigration each year, the foreigner has been living in the same rented house with his wife and child for more than 12 years. His application was for a one-year permit to stay on the basis of being married to a Thai.
The Phuket News was informed late this afternoon that the foreigner, who works in local media, will be subjected to a video call walk-through of the his rented home by an immigration officer ‒ on the presumed condition that his application for a one-year permit to stay will be denied if he refuses.
The Phuket News has informed several consuls on the island of the new rules to refuse applications on the two issues above.
Kurt | 06 May 2023 - 00:26:08