Pattaya businesses reminded of immigration overstay policies

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More than 450 Pattaya businesses were told to be vigilant in reporting foreigners who overstay their visas as new, stricter penalties – including blacklisting for up to 10 years – takes effect Sunday.

Pol. Lt. Gen Natorn Prausuntorn, commander of Immigration Police, briefed the 460 hotel owners, tour guides, schools, hospitals, and private businesses on the new rules March 10 at the Discovery Beach Hotel on Soi 6.

Pol. Lt. Gen Natorn Prausuntorn, commander of Immigration Police, was in town to remind people that the new immigration overstay policies take effect this Sunday, March 20.

New rules take effect March 20 that will, for the first time, put real teeth into Thailand’s immigration policies, banning overstayers from re-entering the country for one to 10 years, depending on the length of their overstay and whether they turned themselves in voluntarily or not.

For those who surrender, foreigners overstaying up to one year will be banned for a year from coming back to Thailand. Three-year bans await overstayers of 1-3 years while those who have lived here without a visa for 3-5 years will be banned for five years. Overstayers of more than five years will be banned for 10 years.

For those whose overstay is found upon arrest, the bans begin at five years for up to a year of overstay. Those here longer will be blacklisted for 10 years.

Natorn said more than 40,000 foreigners live in Chonburi Province, drawn by the beaches, weather and proximity to industrial estates in Rayong.

In Pattaya alone there are 26,682 expats who are retired or come and go with the seasons; 5,212 who are operating businesses and 1,200 who are married to Thais.

He said that, from now on, Immigration will be coordinating with Interpol and exchange data on international crime suppression cases.

Brochures on the new penalties will be available at local shops, hotels and offices so that foreigners will be aware of the new rules.