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Phuket Immigration overloaded by COVID visa rush

Phuket Immigration overloaded by COVID visa rush

PHUKET: Phuket Immigration has yet to explain what caused the mass of foreigners to be forced to wait outside this morning (Mar 25) while waiting to even receive a numbered ticket to have their applications processed.

COVID-19immigrationhealth
By The Phuket News

Thursday 25 March 2021, 12:27PM


Foreigners were already forced to wait outside first thing this morning (Mar 25). After that, the queue just grew longer. Photo: Supplied

Foreigners were already forced to wait outside first thing this morning (Mar 25). After that, the queue just grew longer. Photo: Supplied

Foreigners at the office in Phuket Town reported to The Phuket News that the long queue of foreigners had already stretched down the stairs at the front of the building, waiting to be served in the upstairs section of the building.

The upstairs section is usually where foreigners staying on non-immigrant visas apply  to renew their one-year permit-to-stay.

One foreigner told The Phuket News that most of the people waiting outside were Russian-speaking, and were waiting to renew their 60-day “Covid visas”.

Phuket Immigration Deputy Chief Col Nareuwat Putthawiro, who is usually prepared to answer questions about immigration issues, told The Phuket News that he was unaware of the situation this morning as he is currently in Bangkok on a three-month training course.

He offered no alternative contact.

Calls to the Phuket Immigration office number went unanswered. Even calls to the Immigration bureau national hotline 1178 went unanswered.

MIA KAI HIGHER

The crowd today comes while the country remains under the emergency decree enacted specifically to allow the government to create laws to avoid any situations that might assist the spread of COVID-19.

One foreigner who arrived before the office opened this morning left after realising how long the queue was to get inside the front door to the upstairs section of the office.

Another foreigner who arrived at the Phuket Immigration Office early this morning reported that the crowd had “settled down” by 11am.

The foreigner, a long-term expat waiting to renew a one-year permit to stay, was still waiting after midday.

An immigration volunteer at the office told the foreigner still waiting that the crowd was ”because it’s near the end of the month and all the tourists trapped by the COVID situation must renew their visas at the same time.”








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Kurt | 30 March 2021 - 08:20:44

@Svcoquette. Interesting to read agent arrested, guy's visa revoked, heavy fine, lost agent money. But how about the Key Figure, the corrupt Immigration Officer? That 500 thb/day fine by Immigration makes it a typical Thai happening if that particular corrupt Immigration Officer was not sacked.

LALALA | 29 March 2021 - 12:44:24

yes, sure its corruption, its Thailand, isn't it.

Svcoquette | 29 March 2021 - 02:22:41

LALALA, sounds like corruption to me. I know someone who did this in Samui. Agent was arrested, the guy had his retirement VISA revoked, had to pay 500 baht/day back to his last valid VISA and lost the 50,000 baht he paid the agent. 

LALALA | 28 March 2021 - 17:32:54

Svcoquette, you do not need any money in a bank account in Thailand if you work with an agent. The agent needs only the first page of the bankbook, the account can be empty.... the agent will fix this, this 'service' is covered in the 45k thb fee.

Svcoquette | 28 March 2021 - 11:43:26

Lalala, you forgot to mention the 800,000 baht require in local bank for 3 months before and 2 months after, plus everytime you renew. 

LALALA | 28 March 2021 - 09:35:13

Kurt, its 45K THB for a 1year retirement Visa done in the country, only docs required are your passport, 2 passport photos, photo of bankbook 1st page, works well and is a hassle free solution.

Kurt | 28 March 2021 - 00:51:14

Yes Svcoquette, and this criminal shameless behavior of the ROYAL Thai Police at 'bottom level' is just what we experience. Imagine the corruption at higher levels were they have to make much money on the side to buy their next promotion ( as written a short while ago in BP)

Svcoquette | 27 March 2021 - 17:42:13

And its not just in Phuket. I've driven my bike many times from Malaysia to Phuket and am usually stopped 3-4 times before reaching Phuket. 

Svcoquette | 27 March 2021 - 17:40:09

Kurt, when they stop me on my bike and demand money, even though I have all the paperwork and helmut, Iask them nicely for a receipt. They say no so I take out my phone and hold the money up and say then I take photo for receipt. Some smile and say go, some get angy and say go. Works everytime. 

Kurt | 27 March 2021 - 10:46:03

LaLaLa, you wrote: 'service-agent' fee of 45kthb. Do you mean 45,000 thb? Is that not a bit over the hill for a prolongation that costs 1900 thb? 
Very good, Svoquette, not to pay tea money to cheap charly shameless police officers. When they stop me I ask them friendly or they read the PN, and like their photo in a publication. Immediately they walk away.

Svcoquette | 26 March 2021 - 18:31:11

LALALA you may support corruption we don't and never will. I even refuse to pay "tea money" when I'm frequently stopped driving a motorbike. 

LALALA | 26 March 2021 - 17:46:02

Svcoquette, you not understand the system, dont you... you not need anything mentioned by you, the agent will take care about this... by the way 4percent is quite low, I would never put my money in such deposit, especially not if its in MYR.

Svcoquette | 26 March 2021 - 16:51:14

Tourist VISA has suited quite well. We, and many other yachts, come here each year to get boat work done, spending much money. Unfortunately this year we got trapped here. The extensions which used to take 15 minutes now take two full days, why?

Svcoquette | 26 March 2021 - 16:47:36

LALALA, W don't qualify for the retirement VISA as we don't have a landbased address. Plus not interested in depositing in Thai bank that pays almost no interest. 
We have have 10 yr renewable VISAs (MM2H) in Malaysia which suits us quite well. NO 90 day reporting, no annual renewal and almost 4% bank interest. We only come here 2-3 months every year during the dry season so the Tourist V...

LALALA | 26 March 2021 - 16:02:48

Svcoquette, if yo would have paid 45kthb for a 1 year retirement visa to an agent, you could have skipped the queue, now you have to wait in the blazing sun and this every 60 days, have fun.

Svcoquette | 26 March 2021 - 15:03:55

So we have no place to go and if we did we would not risk getting on an airplane at our age unless we were vaccinated. 

Svcoquette | 26 March 2021 - 15:01:47

Kurt we and many other yachties are here on tourist VISAs. Most came from Malaysia and Malaysian ports have been closed to yachts since March 18th 2020. Our boat is our only home we would not think to leave it here unattended as many have been stripped. 

Kurt | 26 March 2021 - 11:53:33

If we talk only about tourists, indeed, no tourist is trapped any longer. By now there are enough repatriation flights to anywhere to leave Thailand. Immigration doesn't know that? Impossible.

Nasa12 | 26 March 2021 - 09:46:03

No tourists are trapped in Thailand, many flight every weeks. To Europe, Russia ++

Kurt | 25 March 2021 - 21:07:43

@ Svcoquette, My 1 year extensions are not upstairs but in small office behind the 90 days drive through window. And it is always extended till 1 year after date of previous extension stamp in my passport. Year in, year out.

Svcoquette | 25 March 2021 - 13:20:49

If you go early they deduct days from the 60 day extension so everyone has learned to wait to the last day. Stupid new policy. We've been coming here for many years and extensions used to be from the expiration date not the date you apply.

 

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