The Ministry of Interior proposed its draft Announcement on Special Permission for Certain Groups of Foreigners to Stay in Thailand (No. ..)  B.E. …. (the “Draft Announcement”) to the Cabinet for its approval and that the Draft Announcement was approved in principle by the Cabinet on 23 March 2021.

Since the government has allowed foreigners, who travel by cruises or sport ships (yachts), to the Kingdom are able to apply for a Special Tourist Visa (STV) at the immigration checkpoint according to the Announcement on Special Permission for Certain Groups of Foreigners to Stay in the Kingdom dated 30 October 2020 and its amendment dated 9 December 2020, from such, there were many foreigners traveled to the Kingdom under such special program and that some more of them have already registered to travel to the Kingdom under the same visa program.

four boats on sea

Due to the current situation of the COVID-19 epidemic which has been improved, Thailand is currently trying to speed up its economic recovery especially in the tourist sector, the Ministry of Interior then proposed the Draft Announcement to the Cabinet in order to extend the period of time for enforcing of such STV program to be until 30 September 2021 subject to strictly adhere to the measures preventing communicable diseases.

The Ministry of Interior proposed its draft Announcement on Special Permission for Certain Groups of Foreigners to Stay in the Kingdom (the “Draft Announcement”) to the Cabinet for its approval and that it was approved by the Cabinet on 8 December 2020.

top view photo of beach

The Draft Announcement specifies that foreigners from the low-risk or moderate-risk countries such as Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, are able to apply for an extension of Special Tourist Visa (STV) for another 30 days (in total 60 days). The said extended period is for foreigners who travel by cruises or sport ships (yachts) from such low-risk or moderate-risk countries as their countries of origin and are currently locating, in transit or locating in Thailand territorial water on the date that the Draft Announcement becomes enforced.

The Draft Announcement will be passed to the Prime Minister for his signing and later it will be returned to the Secretariat of the Cabinet for publishing in the Royal Gazette.

As aliens temporarily entering into the Kingdom are required to be quarantined for 14 days and there is insufficient time for them to carry out their activities under the permitted purpose in the Kingdom during the validity period of their visas. Therefore, it is appropriate to allow for extension of the period of stay in the Kingdom of the aforementioned aliens for 15 days, totaling 45 days, effective from December 2020 to September 30, 2021.

The Cabinet on 24 December 2020 has resolved to approve a draft Announcement of the Ministry of Interior on Extension of the Period of Permission for Certain Types of Alien to Stay in the Kingdom under Special Circumstances proposed by the Ministry of Interior in regard to the above-mentioned matter.

Foreigners who hold below types of visa can stay in the Kingdom for such other 15 days.

  1. Transit Visa
    • Traveling through the Kingdom (Code TS)
    • Playing a sport (Code S)
    • Being a commander of vehicle or regular vehicle entering into a port, station or locality in the Kingdom (Code C)
  2. Tourist Visa (Code TR)
  3. Holder of passport or its substitute entering into the Kingdom temporarily for an international conference or sport event which the Thai government is the host or is approved by the relevant ministries, bureaus or departments.

As the numbers of foreign workers have been increased steadily in Thailand. However, the system and personnel to handle on the matters related to such foreigner works such as issuing of visa and work permit, notification of such foreign workers and related procedures have not been suitable, up-to-date and it also creates time-consuming to all related persons.

The Cabinet then has resolved in principle for the development of foreign worker management services as proposed by the Ministry of Labour by allowing an outsourcing service provider to manage and handle on the same. This can improve the foreign worker management services to be more systematic, convenient, modern and verifiable. Brief details of development of such foreign worker management services are as follows:

  1. Using an e-WorkPermitOS system instead of customary services for all processes in relation to issuing a work permit. It can be done via a smartphone or tablet by using mobile application.
  2. Arranging for 45 places for the e-WorkPermitOS information Center.
  3. Issuing the work permit in a plastic card and digital forms having QR-code and barcode.
  4. Providing services for 24 hours a day.
  5. Accumulating all data to be in a single database.
  6. Verifying all processes through single database.

The Ministry of Labour then is required to work together with all related authorities and then repropose this development of foreign worker management services to the Cabinet for its final approval.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn and Parita Preamsawat

As the 4 year-term of Memorandum of Understanding on Labor Cooperation of Employment of 3 Nationalities (Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar) (MoU) had expired, the period of employment of those 4 nationalities therefore was over.

Under this situation, extension of duration of stay and continue working in Thailand for those 3 nationalities has been raised. This is to reduce bringing of new aliens from abroad into the Kingdom, reducing the risk of  COVID-19 spreading from those arriving from abroad or from those returning to their home countries and re-entering into the Kingdom and strengthening the national health security as well as to prevent a new wave of epidemic that may be occurred.

photo of city during nighttime

On 10 November 2020, the Cabinet resolved its approval on a guideline as proposed by the Ministry of Labor in regard to foreigners who work in Thailand under the MoU for staying and continue working in Thailand as summarized below.

  1. The workers of such 3 nationalities shall contact the relevant employment offices and immigration offices during the period from 1 November 2020 to 31 December 2021 for extension of their permission to stay and work in the Kingdom.
  2. The workers who would like to extend their period of staying and working in the Kingdom shall conduct as follows:
    • Having a health check up to obtain a medical certificate.
    • Applying for working permission at the relevant employment offices. The period of permission shall not exceed two years.
    • Requesting for permission to stay in the Kingdom at the relevant immigration offices in which the period of permission shall not be more than one year at a time. The passport or any of its substitute documents for obtaining this extension of period of stay shall be valid for not less than one year.  The immigration officer will grant its permission to stay in the Kingdom equal to the period of validity of passport or its substitute documents.
    • Preparing a record of non-Thai individual which is in accordance with the Interior Ministry’s Ministerial Regulations.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn, Jinnaphat Srithepthamrong and Pithayut Ra.thee

 

On September 22nd, 2020, the Cabinet approved for the Draft Ministerial Regulations by adding Corona Virus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 to be one of the prohibited diseases in obtaining any Thai visa and residence permit under the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979).

Therefore, the new list of prohibited diseases will be as follows:

A foreigner shall not be allowed to enter into Thailand if such person has been found to be infected with the following diseases:

  1. Leprosy
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Elephantiasis
  4. Drug Addiction
  5. The third phase of Syphilis
  6. Coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19

A foreigner shall not beallowed to enter and have residencyin Thailand if such person has been found to be infected with the following diseases:

  1. Leprosy
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. Elephantiasis
  4. Drug Addiction
  5. Alcoholism
  6. The third phase of Syphilis
  7. Coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19

The draft Ministerial Regulation will become enforced once it has been published in the Royal Gazette.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn and Pithayut Ra-thee

On 25 June 2019, the cabinet approved in principle for 3 draft Ministerial Regulations (“Draft Ministerial Regulations”) issued by virtue of the Foreigners Working Management Emergency Decree (“Emergency Decree”) (No.1) B.E. 2560 (2017) and its amendment (no. 2) B.E. 2561 (2018) as proposed by the Ministry of Labor and that those Ministerial Regulations will be sent to the Council of State for its review and consideration. After that the Draft Ministerial Regulations will be returned to the cabinet for its final approval before becoming enforce. Brief details of such Ministerial Regulation are as follows:

  1. The Draft Ministerial Regulations specifying rules, procedures and conditions for applying for work permit, issuing of work permit, applying for renewal of work permit notifying of extension of time and notifying of issuance of notification of work permit.
  2. Draft Ministerial Regulations determining qualifications of foreigners who are able to obtain the work permit are as follows:
    • Individuals who do not hold Thai nationality;
    • Individuals who do not have insanity or mental infirmity;
    • Individuals who have never been sentenced by a final judgment to imprisonment under the immigration-related law or the management of foreigner working law within 1 year before the date of applying for the work permit; and
    • Individuals who have never been being illness with the certain diseases: leprosy, active tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis in the presence of symptoms that are disgusting to society, addiction disease, alcoholism or syphilis in phase 3.
  3. The Draft Ministerial Regulations prescribing fees related to obtaining the work permit, including work permit fee, renewal fee, annual fee and substitute of work permit, for foreign workers.

Once the 3 Draft Ministerial Regulations have been promulgated, it will provide clearer conditions and more consistent in regard to the procedures, qualifications and fees in requesting for the work permit for foreign workers in Thailand.

Author: Panisa Suwanmatajarn and Anon Chanrueng