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About Arkady

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  1. It is definitely very strange. This decree is not just an amendment to existing laws. It is a replacement. In Section 3 it cancels the 2008 Working of Aliens Act and 22016 Decree on recruitment of foreign labour. It was approved by the cabinet in March before the new constitution came into effect but has been passed after the constitution came into effect when new laws have to go through a public hearing process, allowing stakeholders to give their views. Before the 2008 Working of Aliens Act was passed there were detailed public hearings. Thai industry bodies and foreign chambers of commerce were rightly and properly invited to air their views. There are huge implications for Thai employers and for foreign investors and in the interests of the economy and society as a whole one would have thought that they and any other stakeholders, such as Thai labour groups would have been allowed their say this time too, through a normal legislative process. Normally legislation through Royal decrees is reserved for emergency legislation, particularly relating to financial and tax issues, as well as security issues. They seem to be representing this as a security issue.
  2. A local English language publication did a very sympathetic feature on, I think it was, 30,000 Thais working illegally in the US who were worried about being kicked out by the Trump administration. The reporters suggested they didn't really want to be there illegally but had no choice as they had to sacrifice themselves to support families back home and that it would be very unfair for the Trump government to deport them. The same publication has not published anything so far about this new decree.
  3. Section 4 (6) refers persons coming to Thailand to perform missions related to education, culture, art, sport etc, as prescribed in the ministerial regulations. I think that means people who come to teach at a seminar, perform at a concert or compete in a sporting event. It seems to refer to one-off teaching events or lectures, not part time tutors and educators.
  4. The decree is fairly lengthy and seems to be effectively amending large chunks, if not all, of the 2008 Working of Aliens Act. It is not clear why the government would want to amend the law by issuing a decree, rather than coming out with a new a Working of Aliens Act which could be easily passed by the appointed legislature, although it would be subject to public discussion under the new constitution and would take longer. They must perceive the situation as being an emergency. Another emergency decree was issued to do with the recruitment of foreign labour in August 2016. If I read it correctly, going through it at speed, the employer of aliens will need to be 75% owned by Thais and 75% of the shareholders will have to be Thai. Also work permit fees are raised to B20,000. However, this should be viewed as the maximum allowed by law. In the 2008 Act the maximum WP fee was B10,000 but they never charged that much.
  5. This would be a logical assumption and the first time it happened to me I was a little offended and annoyed, particularly as it hadn't occurred to me to bring it and I faced wasting another half day going back the Land Office. However, the officials said they could accept a fax and offered the use of their fax machine and luckily there was someone in my home who was able to find a copy of it and fax it over. Thinking about it later, I realised that the officials are just trying to cover their backsides in case someone does use fake Thai ID documents to buy land, and no doubt it must have happened more than once. Of course they should trust district offices to issue ID cards to bona fide Thai citizens only. However, there have been many cases in the news of district offices taking bribes to issue ID cards to foreigners in the names of deceased Thais who would have been about the same age, if they had lived (a la Day of the Jackle). Admittedly these are usually Asian foreigners but the Land Office officials may feel that you can't be too careful these days with so many Russian and other gangsters operating with complete impunity in Thailand. The fact that a copy of a naturalisation certificate is much easier to forge than an ID card which has electronic data in it doesn't matter. The extra piece of bumpf in the file shows there bosses that they did some due diligence and gives them piece of mind. It doesn't cross their minds that this may be discriminatory racial profiling of Thai citizens because there is very little awareness of this kind of thing in Thai society, which, in spite of constitutional prohibitions, routinely discriminates against its citizens on grounds of skin colour, racial origin and religion. You look foreign, so they have a right to question your Thainess. But, once we know and can go prepared to the Land Office, we don't really care, because we are Thai and can buy land with just one additional piece of paper.
  6. Probably anywhere between 2 and 12 months would be a realistic answer but the current government, unlike many of its predecessors, doesn't like unreasonable delays. The process for posting orders in the Royal Gazette is a bit hard to fathom. Usually they are gazetted about a month after the date the order is signed but sometimes it takes a couple of months or more. I have seen a citizenship announcement that was published a full five months after it was signed.
  7. Actually the origin of this is that it used to be normal in most countries' nationality laws to automatically cancel the citizenship of women who married aliens. The UK only stopped doing this in its 1948 Nationality Act. (In Thailand the practise continued for a few years longer with large numbers of Thai Chinese women losing their Thai nationality on marrying local Chinese men who declined to take up Thai citizenship, even if entitled to it through birth in the Kingdom, to avoid military service.) The flip side of this was that women had to be given special rights to adopt the nationality of their foreign husbands, bypassing naturalisation procedures, in order for countries to avoid getting their male citizens lumbered with stateless wives. The UK only cancelled the right to automatic citizenship for foreign wives of male British citizens in the 1971 Nationality Act. Whereas most Western countries have eliminated the old gender biases completely in their nationality laws and no longer have the special provisions for foreign wives to bypass naturalisation procedures, Thailand has gone to an odd half way house. The naturalisation process is still bypassed but the right for foreign wives is no longer automatic or immediate. The original bill that became the 2008 amendment that permitted foreign husbands to apply for citizenship without PR actually provided for foreign husbands to apply under Section 9 in the same way as you did, in the interests of complete gender equality. But the idea caused utter panic in the Interior Ministry's legal department which advised strongly against this and Parliament accepted its advice. The only other alternative to introduce absolute gender would have been to have deleted Section 9 entirely but that would have created problems for wealthy, influential Thais marrying foreign women, who were not expected to work and would therefore never be able to obtain Thai citizenship. Approval by HMK and a consequent oath of allegiance are not required because the naturalisation procedure is bypassed based on previous versions of the law that necessarily provided for automatic and immediate Thai citizenship for foreign women marrying Thais who had just been rendered stateless. You are probably right in that officials assume that the loyalty of the the foreign wives is through their loyal Thai husbands. I doubt that many people at the Interior Ministry or SB have the faintest idea why the law is as it is in this respect, as I doubt that they have any interest in legal history.
  8. You receive the naturalisation certificate from SB, if you have been naturalised. But since you didn't get one and already have your ID card, I assume you must be a lady who has adopted her Thai husband's Thai nationality (a direct translation of the Thai wording) under Section 9 of the Act. That is not considered as naturalisation per se, so you don't get a naturalisation certificate and save the fee. Since there is no requirement for HMK to approve Section 9 applicants, there is obviously no letter signed by HMK either. However, you benefited from two less steps in your process, as you wouldn't have had to make the oath of allegiance either, which saves probably about a year on average all told. I believe you get notarised copies of your Royal Gazette announcement (not the bound copy I referred to), same as the rest of us, and I expect there was also a letter from SB confirming this to the district office, so you could get your ID card. If you need evidence of your Thai nationality, in lieu of a naturalisation certificate, at the Land Office or similar, copies of these documents should do the trick. Since the Thai official view of women is only one or two rungs up the ladder from Saudi Arabia's, it may not be envisaged that wives would be doing such things as buying land anyway.
  9. I got a bound copy of the edition of the Royal Gazette my announcement appeared in and a colour photocopy of the letter signed by HMK but those took several months and a number of follow up calls to SB. I was about to give up on them when they called me to pick them up. I think they said they didn't give them to everyone (presumably not to anyone that didn't ask for them and follow up persistently) and they wouldn't be given out in future. But it's always worth asking, if you are interested in obtaining those nice documents to close your file with. The people in my district office told me that they had seen several examples of the letters signed by HMK in the hands of people coming for their first ID cards. Re naturalisation certificate. This is an important document that you may be asked for a copy of on a number of occasions in future. An example would be at the Land Department when you go to buy land. Although some naturalised Thais have not been asked for this, I have been asked for it in two different land offices. Like many things in government offices, policy may vary from place to place. If you lose it or pour coffee on it, you can obtain a duplicate from SB for 1,000 baht.
  10. I don't think that SB and the MoI are keen to advertise this fact but Section 11.4 of the Nationality Act (amended thus in 2008) provides foreign males with Thai wives exemption from Section 10.5 which is the section requiring knowledge of the Thai language (and from 10.4 which requires 5 years' residence in the Kingdom [with PR]. Thus, having grating it may be to them (and they have my sympathy on this particular issue), there are actually no legal grounds for reject applicants with Thai spouses who can't speak Thai. (Initially they they tried to keep quiet about the right to apply without PR, following the 2008 amendments, and it is still not mentioned in the MoI's guidelines but people found out about it and started applying.) Anyone applying without a Thai spouse applying on the basis of PR will get legitimately knocked back for not being able to speak (or more usually sing) Thai at all. At any rate they have to be interviewed alone at Lamlukka and would be unable to answer any of the panel's questions.
  11. Absolutely. In the past there were a couple of law firms advertising their services for citizenship applications online, claiming they could somehow get clients on some sort of a fast track. Apart from that, it sounded very odd because the ads talked about applying to Immigration. I imagine it is or was a scam to get people to pay a big upfront package claiming that a big chunk of it (probably unreceipted and in cash) was for bribes - then Sayonara. Due diligence is definitely needed, if you decide to deal with one of these firms. Some of the ones advertising as law firms may not have any lawyers at all. Even if they do, the Thai law society seems to have extremely loose ethical standards and I have never heard of a Thai lawyer being struck off.
  12. In Samui and Phangan there are a lot of issues of land titles. In Samui it was announced by the Land Department a decade or two ago that no more Bor Thor 5 land would be upgraded to Nor Sor 3, which is the first step to getting a proper title deed. Nevertheless, much of the Bor Thor 5 land has permanent structures illegally built on it, as in Koh Tao. There have also been many title deeds illegally issued for forest reserve land. A couple of senior Land Department officials have been murdered over this issue. I am not too sure about Phangan but I think it is much the same as Samui, i.e. resorts built on Bor Thor 5 land and on illegally titled forest reserve. However, what is different compared to Koh Tao is that there is genuine title deed land in Samui and Phangan, which has allowed major Thai and foreign groups invest in tourist infrastructure. Althoough local influential figures are still powerful, this changes the game a bit as external investors come with their own connections in Bangkok and elsewhere which dilutes the local guys' influence somewhat. At the end of the day they probably don't mind being slightlysmaller fish in a much bigger revenue pool created external investment. In Koh Tao there can never be any investment from serious external investors due to the land ownership issue. Since there are no land titles anywhere on the island, it is not even possible to get land officials to issue unlawful deeds for forest reserve land. No external investment means the power of the local figures who control the government land holdings through the Bor Thor 5 system will continue abated.
  13. The land on Koh Tao was owned by the government before the 1932 revolution and used as prison for political prisoners. After the revolution the prison was demolished and the prisoners released but the government retained all the land and still does to this day. No land titles have been issued there and use of land is only through Por Thor 5 documents which certify the holder is paying nominal taxes to the local administration in return for the right to use the land for farming (or fishing in this case). Holders have no right to erect permanent structures on the land. The key to this type of land is that the administration of it is not under the Land Department but under local administrations. So the local 'mayors' get to decide who has the right to use the land, which they can rescind and reassign, and they should be ensuring that it is used only for agriculture and fisheries. That is why village headmen and mayors are so powerful. The local administrations are all under the Interior Ministry which chooses to look the other way and ignore the abuse of government land under its care. To comply with the law, all the local administrators should be sacked for violation of restricted land use permissions. All the structures that are not of a temporary nature for use for agriculture and fisheries should be demolished. The very existence of Koh Tao as a tourist resort is based on the premise that there is no rule of law there and that central government has abrogated its right to govern as well as its duty to care for government owned land according to the law. Nothing much good can be expected to follow from this philosophy.
  14. I think there are definitely pro and cons to using rock salt and/or blank cartridges for the first one or two shots and escalating to live rounds, if the treat is still there. But I think you would need a revolver or a pump action shot gun to do this, as these rounds are unlikely to cycle semi-autos. My semi-auto shotgun will not even cycle with the bird shot rounds used for clay pigeons because they are too mild to generate enough gas for the cycling. I think the same would be true of most blank rounds in a semi-auto pistol. With no lead projectile(s) there won't be much recoil or gas produced. You could try loading a pistol with a first one round of CCI rat shot which I have seen for sale in Thai gun shops. That should do less damage than a hollow point also might not cycle the next round. You would have to test it for cycling and ballistic effects. I remember a famous murder case in Thailand where the victim was shot in the temple from point blank range with rat shot. On appeal the wealthy defendant convinced the court that his brother, with whom he was in a bitter dispute over inheritance, had managed to shoot himself in the temple with his weak hand and had chosen to borrow a gun and load it with rat shop, leaving his own pistol loaded with regular cartridges in the glove compartment of his car downstairs.
  15. Nevertheless, they will probably want to see your re-entry visas and endorsements. I seem to remember they needed to know the last date of entry into Thailand and here I travelled from for some reason. If you have no entry stamps, better prepare that info when you are ready to finalise the application, just in case.