Thailand has recently witnessed major political protests causing the government to issue a state of emergency for at least 60 days. Protesters have been organising rallies since 24th November, when the campaign began with approximately 100,000 taking to the streets of Bangkok. Since then, it is reported that around 9 people have died as a result.
Protesters are campaigning for the resignation of Thailand”s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. As she is the sister of the ousted ex Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, they believe he still exercises influence over the government despite his self-imposed exile.
Although recent protests have been confined to Bangkok, the country”s economy may be threatened. Previous political unrest in 2010 and 2008 impacted heavily on the tourism and business sectors.
Currently, employment and immigration offices in Bangkok have closed or relocated. The Immigration Bureau remains opens as usual, although it has relocated to Ladprao Road.
The Employment Department is however, closed. Measures have been taken to alleviate delays in migration applications. For example, no penalties will be issued to those whose work permits have expired and are currently unable to renew them. It is likely that applicants will be given an extended period of time to renew their permits once normal working hours and service resumes. New business, work and tourism visa applicants are advised to expect several weeks” delay to their applications.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a warning to travellers heading to Bangkok and its surrounding provinces to avoid protest hot spots such as Lat Phrao and the government complex at Chaeng Watthana. However, no warnings have been issued to avoid travelling to the country in general and Thailand remains a business and tourism hot-spot.
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