Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Law’

15th July 2021

As the first two weeks of the “Phuket Sandbox” scheme have elapsed, it appears that program is gaining increasing momentum in terms of tourist interest. Although the program has not been without issues as recent arrivals testing positive for COVID-19 have created situations where Alternative State Local Quarantine measures have been undertaken. That stated, the overall program seems to be proceeding smoothly and offers a glimmer of hope for the Thai tourism industry. It should be noted that the Phuket Sandbox is not reserved for tourists, it is possible for those with a non-immigrant visa to use the Phuket Sandbox as well.

Meanwhile, the island resort of Samui is reopening in a limited capacity to foreign tourists. The Samui Sandbox, or what some have dubbed the Samui corridor (due to the sealed pipeline of travelers transitioning through Bangkok), has commenced in recent days although there seems to be less than optimal demand for this program compared to its Phuket counterpart. To quote directly from a recent article titled “No foreign tourists on first day of Samui reopening” in The Nation:

Only 11 foreigners – all members of the media – will take the Bangkok Airways flight from Bangkok to Samui on Thursday, according to the Koh Samui Tourism Promotion Association. “We do not expect a lot of travellers to visit Thailand in the third quarter this year as the rise in the country’s daily Covid-19 cases would affect their confidence,” association chairman Ratchaporn Poolsawas said on Wednesday. “However, what we can do is start tourist operations in line with standard procedure in a bid to stimulate the country’s tourism.”

Clearly, demand for the Samui project is not as robust as some might hope. However, as the weeks go by the Samui program may prove to be a desired destination for future tourists. Also, it may prove to be an alternative to the Phuket Sandbox in a hypothetical situation where the Phuket program must be rolled back even though this does not appear to be a likely possibility as of the time of this writing.

While positive news abounds for Phuket and Samui, Bangkok remains under severe lockdown conditions presumably throughout the remainder of July. Restaurants cannot provide dine-in services, alcohol service of all kinds are banned, shopping malls are closed, and the city remains in a de facto state of severe lockdown. When exactly this will end remains to be seen as calls from within Thailand and in other jurisdictions are being made for a paradigm shift in the way pandemic response is undertaken with some arguing that the containment strategy is no longer viable especially in light of the devastating economic impact these measures have had and which will presumably continue should these policies continue to be enforced.

While the American Embassy in Thailand continues to provide US visa interviews and other routine services (albeit in a rather truncated manner) some have argued that the Embassy should provide vaccinations for expats Americans. As of the time of this writing, the Embassy has stated this service will not be provided and it seems unlikely this will change any time soon.

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14th March 2020

We have been trying to keep up on the news regarding Coronavirus (also know as COVID-19) in #Thailand. In prior posts on this blog we noted that a number of countries have had their visa on arrival or 30 day stamp privileges suspended. It now appears that Americans coming to Thailand will need to deal with new protocols upon entry. To quote directly from a recent Health Alert from the US Embassy:

There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, China.  The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 145,000 reported cases worldwide. The government of the Kingdom of Thailand has implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  On March 13, 2020, the Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health added the United States to its list of countries with ongoing local transmission. Travelers entering the Kingdom of Thailand who have been in the United States within the prior 14 days are subject to self-monitoring and reporting requirements.  There are no mandatory quarantine requirements in effect at this time for travelers arriving from the United States who do not display signs of infection.  Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.  Visit the website of Ministry of Public Health for additional information on these new measures.

We urge readers of this blog to click on the link above to read the complete announcement. Clearly, Thai officials are taking increasingly stringent precautions as the coronavirus pandemic continues to accelerate. It appears officials from the American Embassy will be assisting Americans where possible in the coming days. We will keep readers updated on this blog as the situation evolves.

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12th March 2020

It now appears that the previously discussed restrictions of visa exemption and visa on arrival privileges will be implemented. To quote a recent article from The Nation:

(Update) Beginning on Friday (March 13), visitors to Thailand from 18 countries will no longer be eligible for visas on arrival, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda announced on Thursday…Anupong said visitors must apply for visas in their home countries and bring a certificate of sound health…Visitors from hard-hit locales Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong also become ineligible for visa-free entry, he said. The 18 countries are Bulgaria, Bhutan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu and “China (including Taiwan)”…Department of Consular Affairs’ director-general Chatree Atchananant said earlier today that there would be no official announcement of the measure until the Cabinet considers it on March 17, before Anupong came out later to confirm that the measure would be implemented tomorrow (March 13).

As evidenced from the back-and-forth noted above, the coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic is causing a great deal of confusion at a policy level as officials seem hard pressed to come to a coherent solution which will protect the uninfected while simultaneously having the least detrimental impact upon foreign tourism and the overall Thai economy.

As this situation continues we will update this blog accordingly.

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9th February 2020

The coronavirus has been in the news quite a bit in recent days. It appears that China is taking drastic measures to curtail movement of people domestically and internationally in an effort to curb transmission of the disease. This article will look at some of the responses to these circumstances from both the Thai and American Immigration perspective.

Prior to the coronavirus’s prominence as a concern for international health authorities, Thai Immigration officials seemed to be mulling over the notion of waiving the fees associated with Thai tourist visas for Chinese and Indian nationals. This seemed to have been discussed in response to what was viewed by some as a rather less-than-optimal high season. Presently, it seems unlikely that visa fees will be waived for the foreseeable future. This news came at the end of a year which saw Thai Immigration officials promulgating regulations which placed new requirements and scrutiny on those seeking long-stay visas (including retirement, marriage, and business visas). It seems policymakers in the Immigration sector were looking to encourage a higher volume of tourists while simultaneously enhancing scrutiny and on those wishing to live in Thailand for prolonged periods.

As of the time of this posting, the numbers of Chinese nationals entering Thailand as tourists have substantially dropped. This is likely due to the fact that many cities and regions in China have been effectively quarantined and travelers are precluded from departing many cities in China for Thailand, or anywhere else. Concurrently, Thai Immigration authorities in airports are taking measures to screen individuals entering the country. However, it seems China’s domestic travel policies seem to be curtailing more travelers than Thai immigration policy. Exactly how coronavirus-related developments will further impact Thai immigration and tourism policy remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Coronavirus is impacting United States Immigration policy. However, as of the time of this writing it seems that the impact will not be substantial for those seeking US visas from places such as Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia as a recent proclamation from President Trump stated:

“I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”

This news comes after reports that US visas are currently not being issued in China. Clearly, the administration is taking the coronavirus seriously, but it does not seem likely that this will directly impact the bulk of visa seekers from Southeast Asia. The current policy only will pertain to those who have visited China relatively recently. Therefore those seeking visas who hail from other countries (such as member states of ASEAN), and have not visited China, are unlikely to be affected by the new American proclamation regarding the coronavirus.

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10th May 2009

On weekends, we try (sometimes successfully) to add a bit of character to this blog by discussing things of a more general interest than Thailand Law or issues from the perspective of a US Immigration lawyer in Thailand. This post looks at legal history from jurisprudence promulgated as far back as ancient Mesopotamia to laws still on the books today.

The Code of Hammurabi

Hammurabi’s code acts as an early example of legal codes enacted in modern day Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Hammurabi’s code was somewhat draconian by today’s standards, but it is important because it is one of the first recorded systems of law in the world. Hammurabi was a King in ancient Babylon who decided that Babylonians needed some form of law in order to form a more efficient society.

This code is interesting because the code’s legitimacy is based upon Hammurabi’s assertion that he was spoken to by the gods and ordered to create a system of laws in his realm. In a preface to his legal code he states: “Anu and Bel called by name: me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land.

The code of Hammurabi is especially notable for its “eye for an eye” method of dispensing justice. An example of this tit for tat legal reasoning can be seen in may sections of the code including this one:

“If a Builder build a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built fall in and kill its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.”

I would not have been a carpenter or contractor in Hammurabi’s Babylon, the liability implications would have been too steep.

Roman Law

Of all the inheritances the Romans bequeathed on modern civilization, Roman law may be the bequest that has had the most impact down to the present day. Many of the Latin terms used in many countries to this day have their roots in Roman jurisprudence. From a practical standpoint, Roman law held firm sway over modern day western Europe until the end of the Emperor Justinian’s reign in roughly 530 AD. However, Roman law still had an indirect impact upon western Europe trough the Byzantine Empire, which continued the Roman legal tradition (albeit in the Greek language) until the mid 1400′s when Constantinople was finally sacked by the Ottoman Turks. Terms such as stare decisis and habeus corpus are still widely used in legal texts around the globe.

Common Law

The common law is the system of law used in England and spread throughout the world as the English commenced rapid and expansive colonization during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. One of the major legal documents of the common law system is the Magna Carta imposed upon King John of England by his own Barons in an effort to curtail the powers of the Throne. The common law is distinguishable from the civil law system by the fact that the common law places a great deal of weight behind the previous decisions of judges. Whereas Civil law countries seem to place more weight behind the findings of legal scholars.

The common law is currently practiced and enforced in the following countries: United Kingdom, United States, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Pakistan (to name only some).

Napoleonic Code

The Napoleonic code was created and enacted at the behest of Emperor Napoleon I of France. It is often heralded as one of the greatest legal achievements in history because the code went far in instilling a tradition of the rule of law on the continent of Europe (with reverberations throughout the whole world as a result of colonization). Before the French Revolution the legal system of France was based upon a patchwork system of local customs and special privileges based upon prior royal decrees and dispensations. The system was very inefficient and confusing to the common people. The legal system of the ancien regime was also manipulated by the upper classes for their own benefit often at the expense of the lower and middle class. The Napoleonic Code represented a codified system of laws applicable to everyone equally (except for maybe Napoleon himself). It spread throughout Europe following in the wake of the Emperor’s successes on the battlefield and as a result the Napoleonic Code would undergird Continental jurisprudence long after French Armies returned to France.

An interesting side note regarding the Napoleonic Code involves the State of Louisiana. Although it is part of the United States, Louisiana has a French and Spanish legal tradition due to the fact that it was once a colonial possession of both Spain and France. Louisiana law is based heavily upon Roman legal tradition, but it was also influenced by the Napoleonic legal tradition. To this day, Louisiana has a very different legal system than any of the other 49 US states and as a result the Louisiana bar examination is one of the more difficult in America.

Thanks for Reading!

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(Please note that nothing contained in this article creates a lawyer-client relationship between reader and author. Also, nothing contained herein should be used in substitute for legal advice from a competent lawyer.)

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