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The stern Thailand immigration re-entry bans for foreigners who illegally overstay in the country has received strong support from Phuket’s expat community.
The new regulations stipulating the bans came into force late February. Under the new rules, bans for foreigners who “surrender themselves” to immigration for overstays range from one year for overstays of 90 days or more to 10 years for overstays of five years or more.
The penalties for those “caught” overstaying in the country are even harsher.
Yet two-thirds of all people who cast votes in the poll, which asked “How harsh should the immigration overstay re-entry ban be?” voiced their support for the bans.
A total of 36 per cent of respondents to the poll voted, “The ban is understandable against adults, but should not apply to children under 18 years of age.”
At the time the poll was launched (Mar 18), Immigration had yet to confirm whether or not children would be banned under the new rules.
But by the following Friday (Mar 25), Immigration Bureau Chief Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn visited Phuket to confirm in person that children would be exempt for the re-entry bans.
However, just under one third (30%) of respondents to the poll called for even harsher measures, voting for the bans to apply to foreign children. “The ban is entirely appropriate. It should apply equally to all foreigners, both adults and children,” was their choice.
Despite the strong support for the bans, healthy support was also present for abolishing the new re-entry bans altogether, with 34% of respondents voting: “The ban is too severe for overstays. For this, there should be no ban, just fines and deportation, as Immigration used to do for years.”
Of key importance in this particular poll was that 72% of all respondents had classified themselves as “Local expatriate resident”.
Only 18% of respondents identified themselves as “Thai national” and a further 11% of respondents to the poll identified themselves as “Foreign visitor to Phuket”.
For the full poll results, click here.
If the best response for you was not listed, feel free to mention it in the comments below.