Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-Cha is considering whether or not to introduce new, stricter penalties for foreign nationals who overstay in Thailand, according to Immigration chief Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn.
For an offender who cooperates and hands him or herself in to Immigration:
- Overstay of more than 90 days = barred from re-entering Thailand for one year.
- Overstay of more than 1 year = barred from re-entering Thailand for three years.
- Overstay of more than 3 years = barred from re-entering Thailand for five years.
- Overstay of more than 5 years = barred from re-entering Thailand for ten years.
For an offender who is arrested for overstaying their visa:
- Overstay of less than 1 year = barred from re-entering Thailand for five years.
- Overstay of more than 1 year = barred from re-entering Thailand for five years.
These penalties were first proposed in 2014 after Immigration officials informed the Interior Ministry that the existing penalties for overstay, which include a fine of 500 THB for each day of overstay, up to a maximum 20,000 THB, were not enough to deter people from overstaying in Thailand.
Currently people who overstay their visa can simply pay the fine and immediately return to Thailand.
The new, tougher penalties, which have been approved by the Interior Ministry, have been passed to PM Prayuth for his approval.
In 2013, more than 70,000 foreigners were charged with overstaying their visas.
Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn was speaking at the conclusion of the Immigration Bureau’s “Good Guys In, Bad Guys Out” operation, which resulted in more than 9,000 foreigners being held for overstaying their permission to stay in Thailand.
– additional reporting from Ketsarin Kadlangka
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