CNI News

1 April 2023

Thailand's reduction of the visa-free period for foreigners including Myanmar nationals from 45 days to 14 days seems to aim at earning revenues, labour activists for Myanmar migrant workers told the CNI.
In the past, Thailand granted a 14-day visa-free period to citizens from countries that reached visa agreements with it including Myanmar but it extended the period up to 45 days as of 1st October, 2022 to attract visitors.

As Thailand now has received a large number of foreign tourists, it might have slashed the visa-free period to 14 days as of 1st April, Consultant U Aung Kyaw of the Migrant Workers Rights Network told the CNI.

Thai authorities make preparations to inspect arrivals in a Thai airport.

He said, "Since the first outbreak of COVID-19 in December, 2019, the world faced a disaster and Thailand did not earn any tourism revenue. So, when it could control the pandemic, it attracted foreign tourists by extending the visa-free period up to 45 days. Now, it has priortize the tourism revenues and slashed the visa-free period. If tourists want to stay in Thailand more than 14 day, they will have to pay taxes to the government. They aim at earning revenues."

The reduction of the visa-free period to 14 days may have something to do with the current political situation and the general election scheduled in May, the labour activists said.

Those who have been granted a 45-day visa-free period before 31st March can stay in Thailand 45 days and those who have received visas on arrival are allowed to stay in Thailand 30 days, according to a statement released by the Myanmar embassy in Thailand.

However, those who want to stay in Thailand more than 14 can apply for visas in the Thai embassy in Yangon, the statement said.

The interior of a Thai airport.

Labour activist U Min Oo of the Foundation for Education and Development told the CNI, "Even if Myanmar nationals have received visas, Thai immigration can reject them. So, it is important to answer the questions asked by the immigration properly. It depends on the personality of individuals. When a plane from Myanmar lands, if they think poorly of someone, they detain him or her and extort money. If you have all documents, are smart and answer all questions properly, it is OK. They will ask you where you are going and what you are doing. You must answer properly and must show money. If you can't answer properly, you will have problems.

The visa-free period has been slashed not only for Myanmar nationals but also from those who are from countries like Cambodia, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Russia and many others.