Mr. Somkid Lertpaitoon, the President of Thammasart University and the Chairman of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT), said that CUPT had submitted an official letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), asking for a change in visa regulations for foreign teachers and students by extending their length of stay in Thailand. At present, foreign teachers who apply for a 4-year visa are usually granted only 1 year, and foreign students who apply for a 1-year visa are granted only 90 days. The MFA replied to this letter by refusing to do as requested. A similar petition sent to the Office of Thai Royal Police and to the Immigration Bureau was also turned down.
The Chairman of the CUPT disagreed with their decisions because he viewed that it is a way that universities should respond to the opening up of our country to the world. It is important for universities to employ quality people as teachers and to take good care of foreign students. The request was made for the benefit of all Thai universities and for the country. It is a waste of time and energy for foreign people to ask for visa extensions so often. He said that he will continue to send the petition, this time to those in higher authority such as Mr.Phongthep Thepkanjana, the Minister of Education, and Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.