There has over the past 2 years been a crackdown by Thai Immigration on foreigners in Thailand. These have been mainly targeted at those working illegally in Thailand and they have over the past 2 years arrested a number of people who have overstayed their visa or worked illegally in Thailand. This new crackdown called Operation X-ray will be on going.
If you have been caught overstaying in Thailand, then you will be arrested in Thailand. You will then be brought before court and you will need to pay the overstay fine and be deported. You will be transferred to the Bangkok IDC (Immigration Detention Centre) for processing. You will need to provide your own airline ticket out of Thailand and you will be taken to the airport in handcuffs and released on the plane. You will remain in the IDC until such time that you get an airline ticket.
Thai Immigration has also recently come down on language schools where foreigners hold onto an Educational Visa and who have been living in Thailand without tending school. In the past they used to test foreigner’s ability to speak Thai when their Educational visa was for a Thai language school. Language schools are also being checked for work permits as well as checking on foreign students who they had issued visas for. The process has changed over the years as they tighten the immigration rules and have been out in force to enforce the immigration laws.
Multiple Entry visas have also become very difficult to obtain especially in Asia. The multiple entry marriage visa has become very rare as the last Embassy to issue these had been the Thai embassy in Malaysia more than 8 years ago. The multiple entry tourist’s visa is also difficult to obtain and very few Thai Embassies now issue a multiple entry business visa. These visas have become very difficult to obtain even in Western countries. Work permits are also becoming more difficult to obtain in Thailand and you will need legal advice in this regard if you are going to start a business in Thailand. See what your options are and if starting a business in Thailand or buying into a Thai franchise is going to be worth your effort.
Many have viewed the current enforcement of immigration laws as well as the difficulty in starting a business and obtaining a work permit might fade as it has in past years. This current enforcement has lasted much longer than before and is more likely than not going to continue into the future. You will have to take this into consideration if you have any long terms plans for Thailand be this personal or for business.
The laws in Thailand are always changing and they change with very little notice. Plan your future in Thailand carefully and consider all your options before you put everything into one place. Take legal advice for a qualified Thai lawyer and speak to expats in Thailand to consider what to do next.