Thai immigration laws are complicated

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Editor;

Re: Visa Scam (PM Mailbag Friday, 12 September 2014) – The Thai laws on immigration are so complicated there must be legal loopholes somewhere. There are some visa shops who use these loopholes to their advantage. Sure, money must change hands somewhere.

If you have B800,000 in a Thai bank and have a non-immigrant O visa and have the other requirements (doctor’s report, etc.) you have no trouble. Take the case of an older unfit person who does not have the required B800,000, but has an income of B65,000 monthly pension. They will still qualify. It is long winded and involves a trip to an embassy to obtain a letter stating this to be true. Then start a Thai bank account; also a letter from the bank stating you have these funds, no more than 7-days old and proof of residence. A police report may be required. The list goes on.

If you have arrived on a tourist visa, this must be converted to a non-immigrant O (B1,900). I know for a fact that some overseas consulates will not grant these visas.

Taking into account the time and money spent, gathering all this information could cost thousands of baht. Asking about, I find that if you borrow the B800,000 and need to convert your visa, charges range from B19,000 – 23,000. You must be realistic – even a bank will not lend money free of interest. If you do not need to borrow, the average charge is B12,000.

I hesitate to say if the system is legally or morally correct and there is always the lamb waiting to be fleeced. Never jump at the first offer and seek references from former clients. Remember the old saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.”

Good luck,

Bill

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