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University council seeks longer visas for foreign students, profs

The Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) has vowed to continue pushing for longer visas for foreign lecturers and students.



At present, foreign students in Thailand need to renew their visa every three months, while foreign lecturers also need to renew their visa often.

"We will write to the Foreign Ministry for help," CUPT president Prof Somkid Lertpaithoon said yesterday.

Somkid, who is also the rector of Thammasat University, said the CUPT had already raised this issue with the National Police Office and the Immigration Bureau.

"But the police did not agree with our proposal," he said, adding that granting longer visas would help ease Thailand's entrance into the Asean Community.

Somkid said universities study the qualifications of foreign lecturers and students before recruiting them.

"The government should trust the universities' judgement and adjust visa regulations," he said.

Somkid disclosed that CUPT also planned to ask the government to adjust the salary subsidy granted to foreigners, which was currently fixed at just between Bt20,000 and Bt30,000 per head.

"This rate has been used since 1999, and is very low when compared to the rising cost of living," he said, adding that this low rate made it more difficult for Thai universities to attract well-qualified lecturers.

"The CUPT has already instructed each university to determine the most appropriate amount for subsidy and we will propose the figure," he said.


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