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.
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.”