I'm a right old moaner, at least that's how I appear to anyone brave enough to read this blog over the last month or so.
The problem with being busy is that, with limited time, I only write about things that have really stirred me. Inevitably this has lead to negative posts over positive posts so, before I start the next one (yup, you'd better believe there’s another), I'd like to just reassure myself, if no-one else, that I do enjoy living in Thailand, I'm not ready to go back to blighty yet and that brighter tales and stories are on their way very soon - just one more rant.
Picture the scene, it’s Friday afternoon, another hard week is finished and I'm whizzing about the internet at work, well going as fast as I can at least, in the knowledge that I'll be off home for the weekend in just half an hour.
My thoughts are broken when two of the Thai staff come over to speak to me.
"So, your work permit," they say, straightening me to attention with their words, "we have a problem."
Ok, I think, its ok, my visa still has some time on it so everything is ok.
"You failed to inform the authorities at the employment office when you left your last job so you owe them a fine. "
“Come again,” I say “are you sure of this?”
"Absolutely, it's 500 baht for every day you've been working, so we're looking at 30,000 baht"
Good bye happy Friday.
I won't continue with the dialogue, it's getting a little tedious now, but, in a nutshell, they applied the final fastenings to a stitch-up.
All non-Thai nationals must be in possession of a valid visa to remain in the kingdom of Thailand.
For me, a working non-Thai living here, that is a working visa which requires a valid work-permit as accompaniment. As I left my previous job in March, I was required to inform the employment office which issued my work-permit of this fact, following which I would then have 7 days to complete the paperwork for a new job or leave the country until the paperwork was ready.
At the interview for my current job, and at regular intervals since, I reminded them that I had yet to inform the authorities of my job change, yet I’ve been assured everything is fine, on track and that there is plenty of time and I really shouldn’t worry – until Friday, that is.
So when, on Friday, they told me that they had advised me to visit the employment office on more than once occasion, it simply wasn’t true. It was incredibly unfair to blame me for not telling the authorities as they had continually advised me that this was not necessary.
Although I understand this is not England, in my country the situation would be handled far differently, in a much more professional manner. The conversation might have take place in a separate room where I’d be told that there was an issue with my visa, but it is being working on and they made a mistake but will back me up. Instead I had to endure blatant lies to my face and am left to sort things out myself.
As it happens, I’m fortune to be blessed with a partner who is incredibly bright and quick, not to mention a Thai national fluent in English. After speaking with the Missus we headed back where she devised a solution to the issue – if she can sort it out in less than an hour, I’m amazed that none of the staff – who deal with foreign work permits year on year – can.
Seasoned and bitter expats will tell you never to trust a Thai. I never go along with such comments but this situation gives the cynical view some foundation as they took the easy solution and blamed the problem on me, rather than taking a degree of the responsibility themselves.
So now I’m going through a painfully inconvenient work permit process, which includes leaving my nine month old son for half a week while I leave/re-enter the country, precisely the situation I've been looking to avoid since the off.
I think you’ll agree I have a fair point for a rant this time.