According to the Deputy Director, the Thailand Ministry of Education is warning all schools who offer Education Visas to foreigners to be legitimate and make sure students adhere to attendance and testing requirements.
At the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on Sunday, Immigration Volunteer and former British Consul Barry Kenyan stated the problem with Education visas as he observed it first-hand in the local Immigration office on Jomtien Beach Road, Soi 5.
“A guy came in and wanted to renew his Education visa for a 7th straight year. He waited in the queue and when it was his turn he sat at the Immigration officer’s desk in charge of Education Visas. He had all of his documents from the school. His application was completed and he had the two photos now required for any visa. So the officer looked at him and said, ‘You have been learning Thai for six years already. Is that right?’ The answer was yes so the officer looked at a nearby fish tank and said in Thai, ‘The big fish eat the little fish.” The foreigner looked at him without a clue. The officer smiled and picked up a big red stamp and stamped “CANCELLED” on the remaining portion of the current visa and told the fellow he would not again receive an Education visa,” Barry reported.
That explained why my wife got given the third degree when she went to renew her education visa in Phuket last week. Fortunately, being a child of the Soviet Union and understanding of the phrase “Учиться, учиться, учиться, как завещал великий Ленин“, she actually attends class and can speak a fair amount of Thai (enough to annoy the teacher), so was able to reply “Yes, but the little fish is not so tasty!” Or something. Anyhow, she got her visa renewed. I’m guessing there are a few worried expats in Thailand right now (and a few worried Thai girlfriends), because of all the people I met living in Thailand on education visas, the only one who actually bothers studying the language with any seriousness is my wife.