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Insights into Thai Immigration Policy Paradigm Shift

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, this is more of a generalized video; just some insights of my own with respect to, sort of an observer's opinion of, basically a paradigm shift within the immigration apparatus; most notably I am not talking about enforcement. There other videos on this channel speaking directly to issues associated directly with inspections as well as crackdowns in an immigration context.

What I am talking about in this video specifically is more the processing apparatus. So if you were looking at Thai Immigration and you were to compare it to the US Immigration Apparatus under the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security has three basic components; US Customs and Border Protection, USICE which is Immigration Customs Enforcement and then USCIS. USCIS's component is one of processing applications and petitions for benefits and things like temporary protected status, things like K fiancée visas, marriage visas etc. They are basically processing paperwork; applications and petitions associated with Benefits. US Customs and Border Protection, they are going to be dealing with exactly what their name implies. They are basically at the borders and they are at any Immigration checkpoint when coming into the United States, any Port of Entry. They are going to be there and they are kind of the boots on the ground, the "first line of defense" if you will with respect to immigration, and then finally Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Those are the folks you see who arrest people inside the United States for being in violation of Immigration law or they take people who have been in the criminal justice system in the United States and basically process them through the Immigration Courts and in some cases deport them and process them out of the country. 

So what this video is about would be sort of something akin to the USCIS component, analogous to the USCIS component of Thai immigration. What we're talking about here specifically in a Bangkok context would be the Thai Immigration Headquarters at Chaeng Wattana here in Bangkok and this is a massive operation. They are processing hundreds if not thousands of Immigration applications and petitions every day. They are dealing with all sorts of Immigration benefits such as reentry permits, visa exemption extensions, tourist visa extensions, marriage visa extensions, business visa extensions. 

This video is specifically going to discuss the Business Visa Unit. I may do some videos in the future with regard to marriage visa unit or things that involve maybe retirement visas or Permanent Residence but I have noticed a real sea change with respect to the Business Visa Unit here recently because, well quite frankly they are just scrutinizing the heck out of pretty much any case. There is another video on this channel which specifically discusses inspections. We will have that up around the same time that we put up this video here but I am talking specifically about the mindset. These folks are really scrutinizing all the documentation associated with a growing concern. They are looking at documentation and asking questions regarding new ventures here in the Kingdom specifically those that are seeking immigration benefits. Compared to a time in the past, when I think many officers might have viewed things as an exercise in so-called "box checking" where basically as long as everything was present, the application would be processed on through and even in certain cases it was possible to see things move rather quickly; that is not the case anymore. Immigration Officers, each one of them is scrutinizing each given case very, very carefully. They have people behind them that are then reviewing their initial review. Immigration review takes about 30 days here in the Kingdom and in the past I won't say that the 30-day review was pro-forma because a review was occurring but I think now, especially with increases in technology, with increases in resources, I think that there has been, I can't say this for certain but just from an outside observer’s perspective I think more resources happen allocated to Immigration here in the Kingdom and as a result I think that more scrutiny is not only possible in a technological sense but it's also possible in terms of just pure man hours. It is possible that Immigration Officers can put more time into a given case; into reviewing a given case. What is this resulting in? Well it is resulting in more scrutiny. Our cases are getting scrutinized, I think pretty much anybody who is going through the Business Visa Unit down there, their cases are getting scrutinized rather assiduously and I'm not saying that it is either good or bad.  We haven't had any ultimate issues as of yet that have resulted in longstanding problems but it is rather stressful when you are undergoing scrutiny from a government body. 

A thing to note with respect to this is, the One Stop Immigration service with respect to BOI operates in a slightly different manner. You are generally dealing with larger concerns, you are generally dealing with larger enterprises and as a result the One Stop Immigration service tends to move a little bit more smoothly not due to anything other than the fact that documentation and the reasons for the ultimate visa's issuance are more readily apparent especially when compared to small businesses and especially small businesses which are just getting started. So brand new small businesses in the Kingdom are receiving increased scrutiny over these past few weeks and I think it is safe to assume that that is going to be the case moving forward.