Compared to previous years, extending the work permit at the Labour Department is now a walk in the park: all three times I’ve been there over the past two weeks there was virtually no queue and, even though I was sent packing twice, matters were dealt with within minutes, with courtesy and even friendliness. This is worth recording here.
The only downside is that it takes days to collect the required documentation which, to tell the truth, is chicken feed compared to that demanded of us farang intruders by Immigration, a now fully computerised hydra in its mammoth Government Service Centre that keeps insisting on the same fat stack of documents as in its cramped Suan Phlu years, 80 per cent of which, with or without variations, are the same as the year(s) before anyway and over 90 per cent of which have nothing whatsoever to do with me but with the Thai company that employs me (so much so that every time I have the nasty feeling of being used by the cops to keep tabs on my employer).
This morning, the man who dealt with me at Labour was particularly friendly and empathetic and almost sorry to grant me the modest three-month extension of work permit I requested when a full year extension was in order, but he found my arguments sound enough. Pointing out that I should make a copy of my health certificate to present again three months from now, he got up and went to xerox it himself and gave me back the original!
So I’m now legit and relieved again, visa and work permit wise, until the end of May. Another 81 days before a new round of paper chasing.
Meanwhile, there’ll be one more hurdle, I’m afraid: renewing my French/EU passport, which expires early next year, as Immigration, come end of May, would only grant me an extension of the (yearly ‘non-imm’1) visa to the expiry date of my passport. What a swell world we live in!
1) ‘Non-imm’, short for ‘non-immigrant’ in nonsensical Thai bureaucratese, actually makes perfect sense to me: in Thai im means ‘satiated’ and non-im I truly feel whenever I leave the Thai Immigration smorgasbord.