Thai Immigration is something I constantly complain about and not just because they are quite mean in person. My opinion of them extends also to their lack of compassion, finger-pointing towards anyone anytime there is a slight problem, and because they are constantly changing the rules.
I know that I am not entitled to stay in any country that is not my own and my primary complaint of the fact that all of my income comes from abroad, yet I spend all of my money in Thailand, falls on deaf ears that are overwhelmed by bureaucracy.
During the Covid catastrophe that has negatively affected this country in a similar fashion to the rest of the world, Thailand briefly took a stance of compassion and I should have known that it wasn't going to last.
Just like anywhere else in the world, Covid-19 has taken a massive toll on the Thai economy. Millions of people are out of work and unlike places like my home country of USA, the government here is not in any position to give endless handouts to a population that now finds itself in financial dire straits. One could successfully argue that the USA doesn't have this money either but they seem to play by a different set of rules over there for some reason.
I am part of a group of around 900,000 people that are not Thai but call this place my home. I am not wealthy by any stretch, but due to an increased demand for online English teaching, I am able to make a couple of thousand dollars a month after taxes. This is all done via international companies so I am not breaking any sort of Thai labor laws by doing this. I also am not taking a job away from a Thai person since the companies involved will only hire native English speakers who can prove via multiple interviews and tests that they have a complete command of the language. I'm not saying that there are no Thai people that would qualify for this sort of job, but I am saying that a vast majority of them would not.
So my money that I make with my job goes directly into the Thai economy in the way that I spend about 70% of what I make on local businesses in the way of rent, transportation, utilities, and all of my goods and service. The government collects taxes on all of this.... So why would they be so dead set on kicking me, and thousands of others like me out of the country?
The government claims they are cracking down on illegal workers and that anyone who is working here without a work permit needs to get kicked out. If you think about this sensibly, this would mostly be applicable to jobs like agriculture where many of the people from neighboring Myannmar and Cambodia will come and work in Thailand for less than a Thai person would. I have heard that the employers prefer these workers because they tend to work harder and have better loyalty. This is all heresay because I have never even been to a farm here in Thailand.
I suppose that is fair enough to want to protect your own workforce and I agree that if the government actually does have a job, it should be to protect its own citizens first. However, I completely disagree that this mandate should be applied across the boards to EVERYONE. Wouldn't it make a bit more sense to treat this on a case-by-case basis rather than just assuming that everyone is working illegally?
So rather than chase down actual illegal workers Thailand has decided that everyone without a work-permit (which would be me, since I do not need Thailand's permission to work for an out of the Kingdom country's company) needs to acquire a letter from their embassy to prove that it is not possible for them to travel back "home" to the country on their passport.
This introduces many other problems such as the fact that repatriation flights to the United States do in fact exist, but these companies are price gouging at the moment. A one-way flight to near where I could possibly consider to be my hometown in USA (where my parents currently live) is around $4,000. To put this in perspective, before 'Rona, i was buying round-trip tickets for around $800 or sometimes even less.
The Thai authorities said that they have already been "extremely generous with visa amnesty" and also claimed that "no other country has had amnesty this long." The fact that both of these things are totally untrue doesn't really seem to matter, but when it comes to the government here in Thailand, truth rarely does seem to matter.
I have very little faith in almost every government in the world, but when a government is complaining that their population doesn't have money, and then actively pursues getting people like myself and thousands of other who actually do prop up the economy to "get out." I have to say that this is incompetence at its most high.
I suppose this day was always going to come and I will have to find another country to go to. I may actually just overstay my visa until the border opens up to Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam.