Group appeals to ease visa restrictions for foreign teachers and students


The Association of Private School for Non-Formal Education is appealing to the government to relax the visa restrictions for foreign teachers and students in Thailand, as well as those waiting to return to the country.

Thongchai Pradubchananurat, president of the association, said on Tuesday that they are requesting the government to allow foreign teachers and students already in Thailand to legally stay until the end of this month so their universities can have more time to prepare the paperwork needed to renew or apply for work permits and student visas.

According to Mr. Thongchai, foreign teachers with expired work permits should be given an additional 30 days by the Immigration Bureau to renew their visa.

In order for teachers to apply for a new permit, Mr. Thongchai noted, teachers need a visa extension.

Mr. Thongchai added that foreigners who entered the country on a tourist visa and intend to teach here should be allowed to stay until they are given Non-Immigration Education visas without having to leave the country first as they normally would be required to do.

Mr Thongchai said prospective foreign students already in Thailand on other types of visas that will soon expire should be granted with special permission to have their visas upgraded to the Non-Immigration Education visa in Thailand, despite the Covid-19 outbreak.

Thailand’s education sector and other institutions across the country have been seriously disturbed by the Covid-19.

Mr. Thongchai also said the education sector is facing a shortage of foreign teachers.

Many teachers with a proper work permit left Thailand and cannot return to work due to the pandemic that has not been brought under control in many parts of the world.

The new school term has already begun, and some classes are missing their foreign teachers who have not been able to return, Mr Thongchai said.

Many prospective foreign students who are already in Thailand would sometimes only have 15 days to stay in the country, which means they would have to leave the kingdom and apply for a Non-Immigrant Education visa at a Thai embassy overseas, he said.

However, Covid-19 has made traveling impossible.

The association on Tuesday submitted their request to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha through the government’s complaint centre.

The request was received by Suporn Atthawong, the deputy PM’s Office minister.

Source: Bangkok Post

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