Being locked down abroad and unable to visit his first-born child in Thailand is an indescribable feeling that one has to endure. Here’s a story of a foreign contract worker stranded overseas and not able to travel to Thailand and be with his family due to the current situation…
I have been a regular visitor to Thailand for 8 years now and been in Hua Hin for 4 of those. I work offshore, worldwide on a 4-week-on 4-week-off rotation. I rarely spend more than 25-26 days a time in Thailand, so I have never required a visa or work permit.
I have been with my partner Kanyanat (Pat) for 3 years now and we were both delighted last year when we discovered she was pregnant with our son.
Fast forward to March this year and I say my goodbyes as I head off to Oman for 5 weeks of work offshore, with everything in place for me to be back to Thailand for the 2nd April for the birth of our son.
As the weeks passed offshore and the Covid-19 situation was getting worse, most of the 100+ guys on our rig were getting increasingly concerned about the possibility of returning home to their loved ones and families.
Thailand was insisting on a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of flying and also insurance, which I had. The test was the tricky part with the short window as most tests took 2 to 3 days for the results.
Credit to my employer, we knew we’d faced a challenge to get me back to Pat and my son but they tracked down a hospital in Muscat that could administer the test. Plans were put in place to get me home early before Oman shut down their airports.
24 hours before I was due to head home, the regulations for entry to Thailand suddenly changed. The Kingdom now required a ‘fit to fly’ medical, insurance cover for Covid-19 and a work permit. I do not hold a work permit, as I have never worked in Thailand. I had planned to get a dependency visa but this could not be done until after my son was born.
Nevertheless, I thought I would be OK for entry as I had hospital bills and appointments for the pregnancy and birth along with the insurance and medical. This was not to be and I was denied entry to Thailand 3 days before the birth of my son.
My biggest concern was that the mother and baby were both fit and healthy and fortunately that wish was granted and we have an amazing healthy boy named Lucas.
Lucas is 8 weeks old now and the closest I have got to him and Pat is through video calls. Thank god for modern technology but it’s not the same. My son needs his father with him. It’s tough right now. I should be there bonding with him!
At the moment the earliest I can fly is the 1st of July but nothing is confirmed yet at the moment and that could be pushed back. I’m more than willing to self-quarantine for 14 days, Covid-19 test, whatever is required… I’m prepared to do and pay for it myself. I just want to be there with my family.
Unfortunately I am not alone. There are many more in my situation, including several others from Hua Hin, with 2 Facebook groups appearing:
Farangs Stranded Abroad Due to lockdown in Thailand (780 members) & Thai Expats Stranded Overseas Due To COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (1500+ members)
This below youtube link is a result of these Facebook pages.
I’m not looking for sympathy, I just want mine and other people’s stories out there as it has helped with expats of other countries with the same problem.
I can understand prioritising the repatriation of Thai nationals stranded abroad but business owners, English teachers and other work permit holders are no more important than reuniting families.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.