Why is the South Korea Immigration Giving Thai Tourists a Hard Time?

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why is the south korea immigration giving thai tourists a hard time

The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is taking swift action to address entry challenges faced by Thai travelers, as they increasingly encounter stricter immigration screening when visiting Korea. After numerous reports of Thai nationals being deported by Korean immigration, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has instructed relevant authorities to investigate the situation, reflecting growing concerns.

In recent days, many Thai travelers have taken to social media to share their frustrating experiences with Korean immigration services. 

#BanTravelToSouthKorea?

Thai-language hashtags like #BanTraveltoSouthKorea and #Koreanimmigrationoffice have gained significant traction in Thailand, with the latter becoming the top trending hashtag. Posts under these hashtags have unveiled stories of travelers being turned away upon arrival or subjected to rigorous questioning.

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A post from a woman, shared on October 24, particularly stood out. Despite having a return ticket and reservations for tours and accommodations, she was denied entry during her recent trip to Korea. Her post garnered over 9.3 million views and 22,000 reposts. Some users criticized the perceived discrimination, with one post suggesting that “Korean people are racist against Thai people.”

Travelers also drew comparisons between Korea and other countries that offer visa-free access to Thai nationals, such as Japan and Taiwan. Many expressed a preference for these alternative destinations to avoid losing travel expenses and time.

The stricter screening process for Thai nationals can be traced back to concerns over an increased number of people overstaying their visas or working without proper authorization. Charoen Wangananont, president of the Thai Travel Agents Association, explained that some Thais who had lost their jobs during the pandemic turned to opportunities in South Korea when the borders reopened. 

This influx included a significant number of illegal workers employed in agriculture, accommodation, and manufacturing.

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