The Phuket Gazette is reporting that there will be more crackdowns targeting those with criminal backgrounds as well as those working illegally in Thailand. Apparently the John Karr incident has embarrassed them SOLIDLY and they are attempting to do the responsible thing.
I’m all for removing the idiots… but the way they’re going about this… hmmm. My guess is it won’t be a very effective solution. The background checks probably won’t really be carried out – they are expensive and time consuming. The checks on schools to see if their foreign teachers have the right credentials were so far limited to private schools. The government schools have not been subjected to these checks. Correct me if you heard differently.
Article from 7 Feb 07 PG follows…
Foreign teacher crackdown to continue
Foreign teachers will continue to be the target of Immigration crackdowns, Thai Immigration Chief Pol Lt Gen Suwat Tumrongsiskul confirmed during his recent visit to Phuket on Monday.
His agency, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education (MoE), will continue to conduct strict background checks on all foreigners applying for teaching jobs in the Kingdom.
Gen Suwat said Immigration agreed with the MoE that such a crackdown was necessary to prevent crime and to protect students from the unqualified foreign teachers and those with deviant sexual behavior that could put children at risk.
Gen Suwat, in Phuket to attend a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the new Phuket Immigration Office, confirmed that the new measures stemmed from the deportation last year of American John Mark Karr, a former suspect in the 1996 murder of six-year-old JonBenÃ©t Ramsey in Boulder, Colorado.
Karr, a confessed pedophile who falsely confessed to the Ramsey murder, was teaching at a school in Bangkok. He was deported under personal escort by Gen Suwat, who told reporters in the US that he sang the Bee Gees song Words to Karr to lift his spirits during the trip stateside.
On a more serious note, Gen Suwat told Phuket reporters said that random checks of 1,000 foreigners teachers had turned up 65 whose academic credentials had been forged.
â€œThis convinced us of the need to be more strict in checking teachersâ€™ qualifications. We donâ€™t want unqualified teachers or sexual deviants teaching Thai children. This crackdown will help us to better screen the backgrounds of people coming here to teach,â€ he said.
Gen Suwat admitted that it is difficult to ascertain a personâ€™s sexual proclivities though such checks, but said that police could gain valuable information about applicants by checking to see if they had criminal records back in their home countries.
On October 1, Immigration began enforcing a measure limiting to 90 days [over any 180-day period] the length of stay of tourists entering the country on successive â€œvisas-on-arrivalâ€. When asked if the new regulation had caused confusion and delays at Immigration checkpoints, Gen Suwat said the counting process was â€œno problemâ€ for his officers, who could use a computer to help them count up the days.
He defended the new measure by saying it had little impact on legitimate long-stay tourists but was an effective way to prevent foreigners from using the free visas to stay in the country and work illegally.
â€œThe 30-day tourist visa allows enough time for a tourist to travel around the country. If people want to work here, they should apply for a [non-immigrant] visa from the Thai embassy in their home country before coming,â€ he said.
Gen Suwat added that Immigration will continue to seek out and deport foreigners who overstay their visas and stay in the country working illegally, adding that nationals of China, India and Pakistan were among the most common offenders.
Regarding reports of long delays at Immigration checkpoints at Phuket International Airport, Gen Suwat said the situation has been improved by an increase in the number of Immigration officers posted there.
Additional officers could also be assigned there temporarily from other Immigration offices in the region if the need arises, he said.
Source: Phuket Gazette – 7 February 2007
Update – it’s now 1/2010 and there have been more and more and more immigration crackdowns over these couple years. It’s as if the Thai government doesn’t see the value of a resident expat population. Sure you can throw everyone in Pattaya out with the bathwater, but, there are some expats that contribute to the company – travel industry especially.
Planning on moving to Thailand to live?
Living in Thailand â€“ What is it like to live in Thailand? Could you do it? Follow one manâ€™s journey.
Moving to Thailand â€“ What is involved in moving across the globe to live in Thailand? What is it like? All your questions answered.
The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Thailand â€“ There have been a couple attempts at books that cover this subject. We have reviewed them and found them seriously lacking. Here is a very complete book on the subject.