Immigration are important for Education visas!
We have a great relationship with immigration here in Koh Samui for ED visas.
Probably the best relationship of any school on the island.
We have had several visits from our immigration friends recently to check that you’re all attending your classes for your ED visas.
Don’t forget that it is part of your ED visa regulations to attend your classes every week. Other schools are being closed down because students aren’t attending! So, please help yourself and us by attending as many classes as possible to ensure there aren’t any problems.
Immigration like to see photos of you all, so we will be taking photos at the end of every class to send to them.
Most of all, it makes us happy when you come to class!
We hope to see you soon.
The latest reports out of Phuket and Bangkok, the most notorious places when it comes to Ed-visa violations, suggest that within their regions the 1 year Non-immigration Ed-Visa will no longer be available, to anyone, no matter the course length. These reports come only a short time after official laws were introduced, lowering the maximum 5 year stay to the current max 1 year stay.
Right now the reports have only been coming from students within the schools effected, as nothing official has been announced by the Immigration department nor the Ministry of Education. Highlighting the positive aspect in which most other regions in Thailand be most probably not be affected. Helping people realise that if this was a direct order from head office was, than an announcement would have precluded the reports, not the other way around.
One student wrote ‘ ( I )wanted to find out about upgrading my package to their unlimited so I can stay the full year. He said 1 year ED visas aren’t around anymore. It doesn’t matter if you have an unlimited or 400hrs of study, after 6 months you need to leave the country & apply for a new 6 month ED visa.’
While his school and others in the Bangkok and Phuket regions are obvious going through a localised crackdown, minds still rest easy in the rest of Thailand, as Ed-visa violations aren’t even half as prolific.
The one year Ed-visa has caused a lot of trouble in the past months, since the Coup crackdown on corruption the ‘farang’ visa situation has been highlight as a main area for the new sheriffs in town to focus on. The decision to reduce the 5 year max Ed-visa to 1 year was only taken 5 months before these reports, showing another sign of inconsistency behind closed doors.
While the visa situation is still prone to change, the situation has become more stable since the announcement of the minimum 400 hours year stay, which while still unenforceable, is in the process of being implemented by many law abiding schools across Thailand.
Sourced From ThaiVisa
In a recent change of fashion the immigration office has officially decided to ‘monitor’ the Full Moon parties around the Islands of Koh Samui, Koh Taow & Koh Pang Yang, in what appears to be a backlash against the recent attacks of the two British tourists who were tragically killed after attending a Full Moon party in September.
This controversial move by the office will cause a big wave across the Full Moon party culture, as drunken and drug fuelled tourists will not only be the target to protect, but as most raves go, will also become the targets of the polices unavoidable law enforcement. Where before the ‘mob rule’ effectively policed these events, allowing for revellers to partake in most substances as long as they behaved, now the sight of any elicit substances will force the police to act, taking out one of the major attractions which draws many of a devil-may-cry tourist to the events.
Not only will this new ‘protection’ operation hurt the very tourists it plans to protect, but they plan to impose and ‘entrance fee’ and taxes on all alcohol served. Which ultimately will disgruntle many of a Thai bar owner who will see their profits shrink beyond recognition. And with the combination of the immigration police charging the 100 baht ‘entrance fee’, a strong feeling of resentment towards the officials will not be easily forgotten.
Official offices all around Thailand are on a clean-up operation ever since the Coup not 6 months ago, with statistics since the takeover showing an estimated 400 out of 700 official departments in Thailand having revived a corruption or negligence complaint. In light of this many departments have taking big, but carful steps, with the aim of ‘cleaning up’ in mind.
While this new interest in the Full Moon Parties from the immigration police is expected to cause a stur, party tourism to these islands is expected to rise in the coming months, forcing the police to walk a tightrope of law enforcement without destroying all their tourism economy, a delicate game indeed.
New rules are once again being rolled out through as immigration offices begin to impose a 90 day max extension to education visa, now while to most education visa holders this will be nothing new, there are immigration offices which have been known to give more, those offices are now under the watchful eye of the ‘clean-up force’.
Another aspect of this change is simply once you have been in Thailand for 1 year, since your first entry. You must leave, and then re-apply for an education visa. No matter what you used to do, you can now only have a maximum of 1 year in Thailand, from your first entry date.
While this isn’t a massive problem for most education visa holders, it does put you under the scrutiny of the border immigration officers, who have the power to refuse anyone entry, even if you have a valid visa, simply because they have suspicions you are not here using the correct visa. All fair I know, but unfortunately innocents get caught up along the way, and some perfectly legitimate students can be turned away from Thailand, playing havoc on their near future.
Finally the 8 hour a week study quota is being approved as I type, making students have to study for 8 hours a week, not the traditional 4 hours students have been used to up till now. This extra 8 hours, while not confirmed if you can have your lesson spread over 2 or 4 days, will for sure increase all fees for standards courses, simply due to the higher teacher hours, classroom hours, and increased course material necessary.
Lt Gen Sakda Chepakdee, high ranking member of the recent Coup and currently acting commissioner in charge of Thai immigration has recently confirmed that Russians can in fact enter Thailand as often as they like, under the last agreement between Russia and Thailand on visa exemption rules.
After the Russian foreign Ministry recently responded to the new changing of the ‘border run’ rules, by stating that Russia and Thailand have a ‘specific’ agreement which states that Russian citizens may enter Thailand visa-free as often as they like, each time using the free 30 day entry stamp, since the agreement has not been deemed invalid by either the Thai or Russian government. Effectively this allows Russians to continue to use the recently banned “out-in” border runs, and they can use it “as many times as they like”.
However this comes with a gentle reminder that the rules are being strongly followed since the Coup, with Gen Sakda adding that “They need to show proof that they are entering for tourism purposes”, a gentle reminder that anyone in the country live or working on a tourist visa will be routed out. Going on to say “We have found that [a lot] do not come for tourism purposes. Lots of them are working illegally and are doing ‘out-in’ visa runs”… in order to carry on living and working illegally in the Kingdom.
Despite Russia and Thailand’s ‘close’ friendship, Gen Sakda points out that Russians will have to follow the rules like everyone else, and nothing was agreed which states Russians will not undergo the same entry tests as everyone else. With Lt Somchai Jitsa’ngop, Deputy Commander of immigration point out that, “the normal conditions for tourists who want to travel in Thailand apply. Russia is not a special case. If Russian tourists want to travel in Thailand, they have to ask.”
The rules clearly state that the re-entering Russian ‘tourist’ will have to show proof of hotel bookings and sufficient funds to support themselves while in county, if they do not have this they will not be allowed in. Lt Somchai mentioning that “Tourists can come to Thailand but they have to inform us about their accommodation plans.” This type of strong, rule following talk is typical of the governing body since the overthrowing of the last government, which Thailand under their rule was thought to be ‘corrupt’.
We will just have to wait and see what happens to this agreement, most likely the temporary Thai government won’t interfere with any prior international agreements or treaties, but instead clamp down on the illegal actions, a noble course of action the military have claimed to be their main ambition of their Coup-de-tar.
Effective from the 29th of August this year, the Thailand authorities once again implemented a new set of rules for visa extensions, outlining who can, and more importantly, cannot, extend their visa in the Kingdom of Thailand. They are as follows;
- Anyone in the Kingdom who are nationals of ‘certain’ countries who are permitted 30 days entry upon entering Thailand, can only extend this once, not exceeding 30 days from the expiry of the entry stamp.
- If the tourist is not granted the extension due to incomplete qualifications, then the alien shall be granted 7 days extension to be used to leave the Kingdom.
- Anyone seeking an education visa shall only be granted 90 days, 3 months, at one time. And so can extend this visa up to a maximum of 1 year. At which point the alien will have to leave and re-enter Thailand with a new visa.
- Anyone under taking work for a charity organization, a foundation, a non-government organization, an association, a foreign chamber of commerce or the Federation of Thai industries, without a letter from a relevant government department, shall be granted no longer than 90 days, but are able to extend their visa up to and not exceeding 1 year since the entry date to the Kingdom.
While these extension rules have been made clear and officially are the only set of rules in place, it still begs the question of how long they will be imposed for before another set of rules is rolled out.
While these rules are clear and un-doubtably fair, it still won’t guarantee entry to someone following them to the letter, as different visa departments and different border crossings are interpreting the new rules as they see fit, while trying to refuse entry to enough tourists to make it look like they’re doing their job.
At the moment all we can do is hold our breath as we go for those dreaded visa extensions, a deadly game a Russian roulette follows, with the denial stamp being held at your head, and you’re only thought is a small prayer hoping it hasn’t been inked to stamp. And maybe this time, you’ll get away, miss the shot, but next time it’s a whole new game.
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Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm. Saturday 8am to 4pm.
Adult group classes run from 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm weekdays
Child group classes are run from 4pm to 6pm weekdays. And 9 am to 12pm OR 1pm to 4pm Saturdays
We are located on the central north coast of Koh Samui, near Mae Nam:
11/8 Moo 1, Maenam
Koh Samui, Surat Thani, 84330, Thailand