For several decades, Thailand has been the all-time favorite Southeast Asian country, especially for older expats and retirees. Up until the last few years, staying in the country was relatively straightforward, with a number of visa options suitable for business start-ups, singles, married couples and pensioners.
Since crackdowns began in 2016, many long-term expats feel they are all being regarded as undesirables who must be carefully watched in case they breach the country’s everchanging immigration rules. However it would be a mistake to think that crackdowns on Visa overstays is restricted to Thailand. Overstaying in many countries is a criminal offence. Hua Hin’s long-established expat community has been put on notice with local tourist police visiting the homes of expat visaholders in a drive to identify those who had overstayed their permitted time in the country. One expat told local online media the police arrived at his home with a long list of names, saying they were checking for over-stayers. The officer was polite, checked his passport and left, but reports soon came in of others who had the same experience. Even those visited were cleared, the move has caused concern as the penalties for overstaying are now harsher than before, involving blacklisting, deportation and bans on re-entry. It’s not just Hua Hin that’s affected; it’s also Koh Samui, Phuket, Bangkok and Pattaya. To quote the Australian Immigration Minister, “Coming to Australia is a privilege and if you’re coming here harming Australians, ripping off our welfare system, committing serious crimes, then you’re at the top of my list for deporting.” In Australia persons found with expired visas could be detained, removed and face a three year re-entry ban. Persons who remain in the U.S.A. after their authorized stay has expired for more than 180 days but less than one year are barred from reentering the US for three years from their date of departure. Persons who remain in the U.S. after their authorised stay has expired for more than one year are barred from reentering the U.S.A. for ten years from their date of departure. Visitors to Japan are subject to being jailed for three to four days, fined up to $US 3,000 and banned from Japan for five years for staying a single day longer than their visa permits.