Udon Thani Immigration Office

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bubbles
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Post by bubbles » April 11, 2012, 5:39 pm

There has been another earthquake in Aceh measuring 8.7 there has bee a warning for all in the indian ocean including phuket and pang na try to let people know if you have family or friends in the area



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mathusalah80
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Post by mathusalah80 » April 11, 2012, 7:05 pm

".....Gosh, remember only a year ago, this forum held only praise for Udon Immigration? Something changed."

No, not with Udon Immigration staff! They continue to deal politely, respectfully and efficiently with applicants, who reciprocate in like manner; understand and accept the subtleties and requirements Thai culture places upon 'farangs' and who co-operate in providing correctly completed Forms and any requisite supplementary documents.

Oh yes, I nearly forgot; aggression, anger, bullying, or talking down from a (mistaken!) sense of greater national superiority will always ensure the applicants experiencing greater difficulties than merely having to pay tips!

Dare I suggest that the bulk of somewhat self righteoous sounding 'whingers' here emanate from cultures where bribery & corruption are, and have been for many many decades endemic. Why then all this outrage about vastly underpaid Thais supplementing their meagre incomes in this culturally accepted manner?
Yes, 'tips' are part and parcel of all, (but by no means exclusively), Government related services here. As will be seen from these posts, generally we are talking of average amounts approximating US$20 or Fifteen Pounds sterling ANNUALLY. Wow!!

In my eighteen/ninteen years, dealing with Udon, Nong khai & Chiangmai I can swear I have NEVER experienced any unnecessary problems deliberately promoted by any Immigration Officer while, on the contrary, I have frequently been assisted in overcoming my immigration problems. Yes, on every occasion I have been happy to tip for the service I have received - and will equally happily continue to do so, without complaint.

I am also happy to relate, I have a considerable number of both friends and acquantances who, over the years, have shared similar experiences with Immigration and who also share my related philosophy.

Is it perhaps possible that, after all, the problems do not originate solely from the much maligned Immigration officers, and that a little soul searching, self criticism, mixed with a small dose of humility could go a long way towards resolving perceived problems???

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Post by charlie1 » April 11, 2012, 7:50 pm

i did my one year on tuesday. scary.........i'm not talking about the thais. foreigners showing up with blank forms, no pictures. the only thing they got right was finding the office. the officers were user friendly. taking pictures and helping these dummies fill out the forms. all this extended my wait. if i had been behind the desk and all you showed up with was a dumb look i would have asked you to stop back after you read the instructions.

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Brian Davis
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Post by Brian Davis » April 11, 2012, 7:54 pm

Interested in the feedback. An update .....
It will be obvious to all readers that I had a large bee in my bonnet over the unofficial payment so, in spite of my wife’s anger at not just leaving it alone (funny how the Thai worry about rocking the boat with anyone in authority) I rushed down to Udon first thing today. It proved quite interesting.
Firstly, sod it, the female officer who had dealt with me the day before, was already on Songkran leave, no doubt putting my and quite probably others’ contributions to good use. Shame, as it was really her I wished to challenge.
However, I asked to see the officer in charge and sailed into the youngish, male Inspector’s office at the back of the room, as soon as he arrived, with apologies for bringing him this problem and interrupting his coffee and cake. I think he is newly promoted. His English is not very good and he almost immediately called a female officer, the one who sits closest to the entrance doors. I explained to him that the absent officer has charged me 600 baht (+ photo charge) for an administrative task I believed to be free, had refused to issue an official receipt and that I now wanted the money returned. He explained that he needed to check. I told him not to worry, along the lines I’d promise to slash my wrists if he found any official record of that money and I had absolutely no doubt it had been pocketed by the officer.
His colleague began to talk about necessary procedures, in that farangs sometimes give false information. I said this wasn’t my concern now, only the unofficial charge. I said I appreciated Immigration had to ensure information was accurate, perhaps particularly if it’s to be presented at another office. It has occurred to me that, unless a computer record was compared which wasn’t obvious, no effort was made to compare details with my fairly recent visa extension, when I provided all the stuff to show where I actually lived etc.
The lady went on to imply that there ARE charges associated with other Immigration administrative procedures and this should have been explained to me. I countered that I (and I didn’t think other farangs) was not aware of any other costs outside of visa extension and re-entry permits, why were costs not posted(in the same way there are notice boards are Land Offices and Vehicle Offices) and IF these were official costs, why wasn’t an official receipt issued? And I’m sure that, if an analysis was completed of different Immigration procedures, rather like actual Immigration Law interpretation, one would find different costs being levied, probably even within a single Immigration Office! It all sounds like officers making it up as they go along.
The meeting remained amicable throughout, although I was very direct in telling the Officers that what they were telling me contained a fair amount of bullxxxx. They knew as well as I did that many officers, through gaps in procedures, controls, the opportunity to ‘use their own discretion’ etc. took opportunities to supplement their salaries. And that many farangs, including myself, were unhappy about it.
Anyway, my 600 baht was refunded to me, where from I don’t know. I trust it will be recovered from the lady already on leave. I have to say the Officers listened to what I said and appeared to take it on board, particularly the Inspector, although he is a small cog in the wheel. I might, of course, be a gullible soul and the Office was just pleased to get rid of me with minimum fuss.
I fell for a handshake photo with the Inspector, which I hope will not be paraded as ‘another satisfied customer’! More likely given to hitmen? 8-[ The Inspector said to ask for him if I ever had future problems, so hopefully I’m sorted. For others, rather as Fdimike suggests and perhaps with the exception of photo and copying small amounts, my view would be to resist paying anything without full explanation and an official receipt.
Incidentally, I noticed a present of goodies being given to the Immigration staff by, I’m fairly sure, the wife/partner of a farang applying for something. If a genuine goodwill Happy New Year gift, fine. If it was intended to oil the wheels of the farang’s application, one might understand why I cringed.

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Brian Davis
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Post by Brian Davis » April 11, 2012, 8:32 pm

mathusalah80 wrote: self righteoous sounding 'whingers'
Well, I'm not sure if that's meant to include me, or not. My response would be that I don't like corruption any time, any where. Let's be clear that Thailand is absolutely rife with it. Even as a 'guest' in this country, if it affects me in dealing with Immigration (and police officers who should really be above it) I think it's fair I should complain.

I agree with you that in my time in Thailand, I've had very few problems with Immigration. I pride myself in preparing paperwork, presenting myself properly and trying to remain polite even when straight talking is necessary, as i mention in my other post. It's not my fault that difficulties arise because instructions aren't clear, or different interpretations are made from office to office or officer to officer.

I've no idea what kind of salaries Immigration Officers enjoy, or perhaps that should be 'endure' in your book. But seems a sort-after job.
On 'perks', I'd use a calculation like this. An officer dealing with just five applicants a day and say making 100 baht from each. 20 days work a month = 10,000 baht. Enough for e.g.excellent accommodation costs I reckon or payments on that new car. Not so bad, eh?

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Post by pienmash » April 11, 2012, 10:32 pm

Went to immo this morning to do my 90 days .......... 2 usual faces but the lady i know said that the inspector and his imediate understudy had been removed / replaced by a new duo ,,,,, i did my 90 days ok VERY EFFICIENT ..the place was packed as is the norm this time of year and with the recent office closure 1 extra day cos of the funeral even busier ... other info has since come to light but im sure twill all come out soon.

mash

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pompui
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Post by pompui » April 12, 2012, 3:25 am

Mr Mash,I presume you did not see the Teddy on show for someone to reclaim ( see separate thread),maybe a Thai New Years present for a child of the Immigration team. :shock:
Are you saying the skinny immigration male in the office has been removed,his assistant also,is that the one that makes his coffee and takes it to his room in the morning :-k Shame will miss them both,honest Guv 8)

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mathusalah80
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Post by mathusalah80 » April 12, 2012, 5:17 am

Brian wrote: On 'perks', I'd use a calculation like this. An officer dealing with just five applicants a day and say making 100 baht from each. 20 days work a month = 10,000 baht. Enough for e.g.excellent accommodation costs I reckon or payments on that new car. Not so bad, eh?

Actually Brian, POSSIBLY it doesn't quite work like that. POSSSIBLY there is a 'cash box' wherein is put all tips received by staff. POSSIBLY this is under the control of the Department Head,. Possibly from out of this box is paid the food the staff eat during the day. POSSIBLY, at the end of an agreed period, any balance remaining is shared out among the staff equallly, except for the Department Head, who POSSIBLY receives a greater share than his staff. POSSIBLY the money you paid and then had returned, was not kept personally by the lady concerned , (she would be unlikely to be there for very long in the unlikely event she was stupid enough to cheat her colleagues), but went into the communal box.

Brian wrote: ...."I don't like corruption any time, any where. Let's be clear that Thailand is absolutely rife with it."...

Does anybody 'like' corruption, other than those on the receiving end? Can you name any country anywhere in the world, that is without corruption? How many of the complainants under this thread, I wonder, would be prepared to admit to corruption in their countries of origin, and be as loudly critical as they are of the corruption in this land they have chosen as a better alternative in which to live? At least it is in Thailand's favour that, almost uniquely, the lower income classes get to receive a bite of the cherry, whereas in more civilized (?) and advanced (?) nations, the benefits are normally the exclusive domain of the rich and powerful.

Brian, in view of your, (entitled), strong feelings regarding corruption, Is it then the case that, assuming you have at some time run foul of the Traffic Police, that you have NEVER gone along with voluntarilyy paying the 'stopping' Officer an unreceipted cash payment, for whatever reason???? If, hand on your heart, you can respond in the affirmative, then you truly are a man of principle, and someone to be sincerely admired.

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Post by Bandung_Dero » April 12, 2012, 7:46 am

Can't argue with that!
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Post by Ricohoc » April 12, 2012, 8:42 am

There is corruption in every country and in many government offices.

I always bring exact change for everything and a pocket full of 5 baht and 10 baht coins.

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Post by pienmash » April 12, 2012, 10:21 am

pompui wrote:Mr Mash,I presume you did not see the Teddy on show for someone to reclaim ( see separate thread),maybe a Thai New Years present for a child of the Immigration team. :shock:
Are you saying the skinny immigration male in the office has been removed,his assistant also,is that the one that makes his coffee and takes it to his room in the morning :-k Shame will miss them both,honest Guv 8)
No teddy in sight Pomps ,,,, and yes the smallish chap and his gofor have gone , shame he was a really helpful nice bloke regardless of any numerical and memory probs he MAY have had......rumour has it twas a sting operation ?? having said that he didnt look overly fussed or upset when he dropped in CC last night .

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Post by pompui » April 12, 2012, 11:37 am

pienmash wrote:
pompui wrote:Mr Mash,I presume you did not see the Teddy on show for someone to reclaim ( see separate thread),maybe a Thai New Years present for a child of the Immigration team. :shock:
Are you saying the skinny immigration male in the office has been removed,his assistant also,is that the one that makes his coffee and takes it to his room in the morning :-k Shame will miss them both,honest Guv 8)
No teddy in sight Pomps ,,,, and yes the smallish chap and his gofor have gone , shame he was a really helpful nice bloke regardless of any numerical and memory probs he MAY have had......rumour has it twas a sting operation ?? having said that he didnt look overly fussed or upset when he dropped in CC last night .
Honest Guv,what a shame, hope he is a secret cider drinker :^o

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Post by pienmash » April 12, 2012, 2:58 pm

Nar ,,,, him n his missus drop by now n then for the bluberry pie pomps .. and a mugga tea ... no cider sad to say.

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Post by fdimike » April 12, 2012, 10:52 pm

Brian
I applaud you for going back to get things straightened out. I'm really surprised at the outcome because i thought for sure they would come up with some excuse for not returning the money. At this point in time everyone should know there are only 2 legal fees - visa & rentry visa. These IOs are paid by their government to do a job. I see no reason at all to subsidize that salary. I have been involved in Thailand since 1970. I have never paid any money under the table around the corner or up in the sky to get something done at a government office and I don't plan to start now.

Mathusala
As Brian alluded to in his post. Corruption is wrong and should not be condoned. It's one of the reasons Thailand fares so poorly when compared to many other countries in this particular area. It's certainly not the worst country when talking about corruption but finishing in 80th place out of approximately 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index is not exactly anything to be proud of. I don't know where you come from but in the US one does not "tip" a government employee to do their job.
Your reasoning regarding the "tip box" is so far off base that it's not worth discussing. You make it sound like these people are volunteers doing this work out of the goodness of their heart and need help buying lunch, pens, paper & maybe another rubber stamp or two.
BTW: The traffic police normally issue a receipt when you pay the fine. I have no idea as to what becomes of the money after that, but I would suspect a portion of it goes into someones pocket.
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Post by Bandung_Dero » April 13, 2012, 3:42 am

fdimike wrote: <snip>
Mathusala
I don't know where you come from but in the US one does not "tip" a government employee to do their job.
So your saying US and other Western society Government employees are 'squeaky' clean. No backhanders, all above board, everyone treated equally. Then we have the high rolling business people donating fortunes to political candidates just because they think he/she is a great guy and don't expect to see a return on investment etc.etc., gimme a break!

I agree with Mathusala, corruption is embedded in ALL societies, it's just the way it's camouflaged that makes it different. When I get a 1900 Baht visa and pay 100 Baht for some nondescript photocopies -- no worries -- Quick service, smiling face and more importantly the fact I'm made to feel welcome on my next visit is worth a lousy $3.30.
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Post by fdimike » April 13, 2012, 6:50 am

Bandung
So what you're saying is that when you get a drivers license or some other non-descript governement supplied document in your home country you also slip the clerk some extra cash so she'll smile at you. I don't know where you come from but I would be willing to bet that wouldn't happen in any western society.
Photocopies typically cost 1 baht or less all over town but you're content in paying 100 times that amount at the IO so you'll get a smile and quick service. Why not come prepared with all the correct documents ahead of time and avoid the extra charge? It's not really difficult to figure out what's needed especially if you've done it once or twice. You'll still get quick service and a smile.
Of course corruption in some form is found in western countries as well it's just not normally found at the customer level which we are speaking about. Every time someone agrees to pay money under the table just helps make a bad practice worse. As I've already said the IO people are paid well by their government to do a job. I see no reason to supplement that income for any reason. The only volunteers working there are the students who are participating in on the job training.
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Post by FCBasel1967 » April 14, 2012, 8:16 am

fdimike wrote:Bandung
So what you're saying is that when you get a drivers license or some other non-descript governement supplied document in your home country you also slip the clerk some extra cash so she'll smile at you. I don't know where you come from but I would be willing to bet that wouldn't happen in any western society.
Photocopies typically cost 1 baht or less all over town but you're content in paying 100 times that amount at the IO so you'll get a smile and quick service. Why not come prepared with all the correct documents ahead of time and avoid the extra charge? It's not really difficult to figure out what's needed especially if you've done it once or twice. You'll still get quick service and a smile.
Of course corruption in some form is found in western countries as well it's just not normally found at the customer level which we are speaking about. Every time someone agrees to pay money under the table just helps make a bad practice worse. As I've already said the IO people are paid well by their government to do a job. I see no reason to supplement that income for any reason. The only volunteers working there are the students who are participating in on the job training.
True words. Thanks a lot fdimike. It is not about the amount of money, it is about the principle of fair treatment by government officials. A job at immigration police is extremely sought after because it is very well paid (for Thai and especially for Isaan standards) and offers a lot of status. Those jobs are usually exclusively distributed among family members of very senior officers in the Thai Military as a reward for their service.

Sounds like too good to be true but I got quick and efficient service by NK immigration for both married visa and re-entry without paying a single baht more than stated on the forms.

Hence no need to pay any "coffee money". All who do just encourage bribery and fraud within government organisations. I can get the smiles somewhere else if I need it.

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Post by Bandung_Dero » April 14, 2012, 11:20 am

Point taken BUT it's not only about a smile! Primarily about the type of reception one receives on a subsequent visit if he/she kicks up a stink about a few Baht. As far as I'm concerned a smile is a good sign I will have a quick turnaround and not some sort of a ---- fight. They will continue to get my "tip".

In saying that if I'm ever in the unfortunate position to have to deal with Mr Happy again he will get, in kind, a reward commensurate with the treatment he has given me in the past.
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Post by welshwizard » April 14, 2012, 12:17 pm

I wrote a post about the treatment i received at udon imm and find find it quite interesting see the completely opposite views on the same office.It is very easy to say you will not pay bribery payments but when you have gotten your visa but what would you do if like me she would not give you a visa unless you paid. The first time that woman had me was on a friday my visa run out the next day.She just made up a new rule saying my wife had to be with me for a 30 day visa extension on a 90 day imm o visa. I pointed out that my wife was not with me in laos or in uk when i got my o visa`s but she said new rule. My wife was in a teacher conference and could not come.As i left she said she would do it for 500baht .What choice did i have ?I would have to overstay until monday then go to laos .The second time with my wife she made a new rule only 1 extension a year or 500 baht .I refused to pay and got no visa until i went to nong khai and complained and they told her to give me a visa and sent me back and she still asked me for 500 baht but i did not pay.So on motorbike i went from phen to udon to nong khai back to udon then home to phen.Was it worth it for 500 baht ?
As for corruption in all societies i think you have to use your head and think before saying that .There probably is but not at such a low level as thailand.I have never paid a government official in my life in U.K Not for my driving licence,passport,car mot,medical checks,police ,immigration,for my business ,promotion at work , all of which i have had to pay in thailand would not think that many western people would pay in their own countries
ww

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Post by fdimike » April 14, 2012, 12:44 pm

Bandung

I've been here nearly 7 years now and I get the same kind of warm reception every time I go to immigration (here, Nong Khai, AEK Hospital). I have all my paperwork complete with ample copies of my passport, marriage license, house regiostration, wife's Thai ID card, income letter from my embassy, etc etc and my wife also comes with me. We don't tip, pay under the table or give a gift of any sort. I'm on an "O" visa (retirement) and we have never had a problem getting served. I also never wait until the last minute to get this done and always appear about a week before the visa is due. We make all our 90 day checks in person and on time as well. And for what's it's worth my Thai born wife (now American citizen) is also on the same kind of visa.
I've only been illegally charged 1 time when I needed my visa moved to my new passport. The money was promptly refunded when I asked for a receipt.
You're just wasting your money for no reason. It also makes it more difficult for other foreigners living here because they think they have to pay under the table for service.

Welsh
A couple of points. Don't wait for the last minute to renew your visa. Schedule your visit at least a week in advance so you're not in a comprising position. Always bring your wife with you even if she has to miss a day of school. Better yet have her appear in her school uniform. Convert your current visa to an "O" visa based on marriage (assuming you are legally married). Make sure you have all the documents you need to include extra copies of EVERYTHING. Have the exact change available for your visa. Finally ask to speak with the supervisor if you encounter a problem.
An ex-pat in the Land of Smile

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