Since the beginning of this century, the number of homeless foreigners from Europe and America is constantly rising in Thailand.
According to the research done by The Issarachon Foundation, there are currently 200 homeless foreigners in Thailand. Most of them are suffering from alcohol problems. About 40% of them are also suffering from mental illness due to failed relationships, drug addictions and other reasons. In order to survive, their meals consist of leftovers in some food court or in the street.
The main reason behind this is the long-expired visa. Those westerners are in overstay in Thailand and don’t have enough money to pay fines. Indeed they face fines up to 20,000 baht (£400) or imprisonment.
Besides that, embassies from their own country cannot do anything to assist them. Therefore, a lot of them are stuck in Thailand.
The head of the Tourist Police in Pattaya, Pol Lt Col Aroon Promphanb is afraid that those homeless foreigners who are suffering from mental illness might be abused or attempt to their life. Regardless them ending up being victims or criminals, they represent a threat to the image of tourism in Thailand.
In order to avoid further problems, the Thai government should perform more advanced background checks with new tourists and implement tougher financial restrictions for foreigners who are applying for the retirement visa. Nowadays, declaring one’s financial status is not required in order to obtain a visa. Therefore, those foreigners can easily enter Thailand but struggle to get back home.
In addition, the Thai government should cooperate more with every embassy in Thailand meaning they should take responsibility regarding their own citizens.
In conclusion, the issue of homeless foreigners is becoming serious because they cannot go back home. Therefore, more measures should be put in place in order to assist and then repatriate those individuals back home.