The Pattaya City Expats Club welcomed British Embassy Consul Joanne Finnamore-Crorkin as the guest speaker at their Wednesday, August 30, meeting. With more than 100 in attendance, Joanne gave an informative talk about what her section at the British Embassy can and cannot do for British nationals. Unlike many consular sections of embassies for other countries, other than emergency travel documents, they are not involved in the issuance or renewal of passports; nor are they involved in the visa application process for foreigners wanting to visit the UK.
Barry Kenyon, former Pattaya Honorary Consul for the British Embassy (1997-2010) was in attendance and as a regular contributor to the Pattaya Mail wrote an article about her talk which can be read at: https://www.pattayamail.com/news/british-consul-reassures-pattaya-expats-and-tours-international-law-office-439507. Joanne mentioned that the duties of the Honorary Consul have changed since Barry held the position and now only undertakes duties when specifically tasked by her office. The position is currently vacant with a new appointee awaiting confirmation from London.
She noted that her office consisting of 22 people is the largest of that of any British Embassy Consular section. They are primarily involved in aiding British nationals and providing documentary services. In addition to her talk, she provided a leaflet, “Help for British People,” with information on how British nationals can obtain information from the UK government, e.g., obtaining passports, visas, etc., and listing the assistance that can and cannot be provided by the Embassy. It also shows a link where more detailed information can be provided, visit: https://www.gov.uk/world/thailand.
Joanne gave statistical information on some of the types of assistance provided, the number of cases they have handled, and examples of this assistance. She noted that a new area that they have been involved in is human trafficking, primarily British nationals being trafficked to neighboring countries and forced to work in call centers. She also emphasized that many British expats are not aware that the registration system previously used for British nationals to provide their contact information is no longer used for contacting British nationals. Instead, British nationals are encouraged to sign up for “Travel Aware” so they can receive updated travel advice.
To view a video of Joanne’s talk, visit the PCEC’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYqE6VqJ9As and a video of her post presentation interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0lkLQMRZLI.
After the presentations were concluded, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting where the audience can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. To learn more about the PCEC, visit their website at https:/pcec.club.