Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Bangkok Lawyer’

26th September 2010

Those who track this blog may have noticed that there has been an increase in political activities which have disrupted the otherwise calm political and economic environment in the Kingdom of Thailand. There are many who feel that these disruptions are only temporary and will not prove detrimental over the long term. In the short term, individuals and businesses in Thailand are analyzing some new risks which have manifested themselves over the past 9-12 months. To quote directly from Westlawbusiness.com:

Several companies have recently disclosed risks arising from the political turmoil in Thailand. For example, Priceline.com, an online hotel auctioneer, recently disclosed that “civil unrest in Thailand, a key market for our Agoda business and the Asian business of Booking.com. This may result in “significant year-over-year declines in booking volumes in this market….Thailand has experienced disruptive civil unrest in prior years as well and continued or future civil or political unrest could further disrupt Agoda’s Thailand-based business and operations.”

Communication cable manufacturer General Cable is also reporting that it is subject to business risk arising from unrest in Thailand. The copper, aluminum, and fiber optic wire and cable products provider recently disclosed that its “business is subject to the economic, political and other risks of maintaining facilities and selling products in foreign countries. . . Thailand recently experienced significant political and militant unrest in certain provinces. The country’s elected government was overthrown in September 2006, with an elected government only recently restored.” [emphasis in original]

Political turmoil can have substantial unforeseen consequences for some businesses and business models operating throughout Asia. This is why retaining the assistance of local legal counsel can be advantageous for multinational corporations as professionals with on-the-ground knowledge of local business customs and practices can guide clients away from unforeseen legal, and in some cases; business, risks.

There are many, this author included, who feel that the current political turbulence in Thailand is simply a “bump in the road” eventually leading to overall tranquility and economic prosperity in the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the South East Asia region. Bearing that in mind, those wishing to establish a business or corporate presence in Thailand are well advised to conduct research and due diligence before making irrevocable business decisions as  maintaining a corporate presence in Bangkok, or the emerging markets in Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, and Vietnam can be fraught with unforeseen legal and business issues which may not arise in jurisdictions such as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada.

Many wishing to do business in Thailand opt to do so under a Thai Limited Company as this type of juristic person provides a measure of limited liability. Limited Liability is often one of the first methods employed by those wishing to hedge against unforeseen future business risks. American businesses may also enjoy many benefits pursuant to the language of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Regardless of the type of corporate structure, any foreigner wishing to work in the Kingdom of Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit prior to taking up employment pursuant to Thai labor law.

For related information please see: Bangkok Lawyer or Amity Treaty Company.

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18th September 2009

In a recent report published by the Immigration Policy Center, the issues surrounding United States Immigration and its demographic impact were discussed. To quote an email sent out by the Center, the demographics of Immigrant’s in the United States is somewhat surprising:

“Roughly one-in-seventeen U.S. citizens are foreign-born, and tens of millions of native-born U.S. citizens have immigrant parents. This demographic reality has important political ramifications. A rising share of the U.S. electorate has a direct personal connection to the immigrant experience, and is unlikely to be favorably swayed by politicians who employ anti-immigrant rhetoric to mobilize supporters.”

The fact is: were it not for the influx of immigrants to the United States, the “birth dearth” being experienced in other western countries would be highly prevalent in the United States of America. Immigrants add a great deal to the American economy as well as the societal structure as they compensate for the aging American population. Systems such as social security and Medicare would be in far greater peril were there to be no influx of foreign immigrants traveling to America on a USA visa in order to live and work.

In the same email, there were some compelling statistics regarding immigrant populations in the United States:

“There were 38.1 million immigrants living in the United States as of 2007, of whom 42.5% were naturalized U.S. citizens.

The number of naturalized U.S. citizens increased from 8 million in 1990, to 12.5 million in 2000, to 16.2 million in 2007.

There were 45.5 million Latinos in the United States in 2007, of whom 11.2% were naturalized U.S. citizens and 60.2% were native-born U.S. citizens.

There were 13.3 million Asians living in the United States as of 2007, of whom 37.7 % were naturalized U.S. citizens and 31.8% were native-born U.S. citizens.”

Of particular interest for this author is the final statistic regarding people of Asian descent. As a law firm in Bangkok that primarily handles United States Immigration for Thai fiancees and spouses of US Citizens, this statistic truly hit home. The K1 visa, the K3 visa, and the CR1 visa applications are processed at the US Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. We see many happy couples using the American Immigration system in order to reunite with their US Citizen loved ones. Many of these immigrants proceed to adjust their status and remain with their American loved one long term. Some proceed further and complete the naturalization process. In many cases, children are born from these happy unions. In all, America is fueled by Immigration as it is a nation of immigrants. As time passes hopefully the American government will keep this in mind when creating new legislation which impacts the Immigration process.

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15th March 2009

The CR-1 Visa is one of, if not the, most common US Visa sought for Thai Loved ones seeking to journey to the USA (The K1 Fiance Visa from Thailand is another widely used US Immigration tool from Thailand, please see Fiance Visa Thailand for more details). The reason for this is likely due to the fact that many Thai-American couple’s situation fits the criteria of a CR-1 Visa.

CR-1 stands for “conditional resident 1,” in practical terms this means that a person in the US on a CR-1 Visa has conditional permanent residence. In practical terms, the difference between conditional permanent residence and unconditional permanent residence is that a conditional permanent resident could lose their permanent residence status. A situation in which one might lose their permanent residence would be where a Thai/American married couple obtains a Cr-1 Visa on behalf of the Thai wife. Subsequent to obtaining the CR-1 Visa and entering the US, the couple divorces, but not before they file for a “lift of conditionality.” (A lift of conditions of a CR-1 Visa is generally filed by the American Citizen spouse at the 2 year anniversary of the permanent resident’s entry into the USA) If the lift of conditions has not been granted and the couple has divorced, then the condition upon which the visa was granted has ceased to exist and therefore the visa should be revoked. There are exceptions that allow for a Cr-1 visa to have the conditions lifted without the US Citizen Spouse’s consent (Most notably the violence against women act), but these situations are limited.

An IR1 visa does not have these conditions. In order to apply for this visa, the Thai-American couple must have been married for at least 2 years. If they meet this requirement then after obtaining the visa at the US Embassy in Thailand, then the Thai spouse will enter the US on an Ir-1 Visa which confers unconditional permanent residence from the moment the Thai spouse enters the United States.

The form necessary to obtain a CR-1 Visa is the I-130 petition. It should be filed with the USCIS office having jurisdiction over the area in which the US Citizen spouse resides. One of the reasons why a CR-1 Visa is sought over a K-3 in Thailand Visa is the fact that a K-3 Visa requires Adjustment of Status for a Thai wife. A Thai wife entering on a CR-1 Visa does not need to adjust her status in the USA, only obtain a lift of conditionality.

As with all US Immigration matters it is always wise to obtain the advice of a duly licensed US Immigration Attorney with experience dealing with US Immigration Law. Integrity Legal’s Managing Director is a licensed US Attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association. When seeking licensed a Immigration Lawyer AILA can be an invaluable resource.

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