The Thai Embassy in Hanoi pledged to continue to honor a bilateral visa exemption agreement signed in 2000 despite recent news to the contrary, Vietnam News Agency reported.
They made the statement during a meeting with representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the Thai Immigration Bureau issued new regulations requiring Vietnamese who frequently enter Thailand to prove they're visiting for travel purposes or apply for visas.
The agreement signed by the Vietnamese and Thai governments on May 9, 2000, allowed Vietnamese passport holders to stay in Thailand for 30 days without visas if they entered by air and 15 days if they entered by land, regardless of the purpose of their trip.
The Thai Embassy confirmed that Vietnamese passport holders who enter Thailand for travel, to visit relatives, attend meetings or conferences, and do business, will still be granted a 30-day visa exemption in accordance with the agreement.
Thailand’s new visa rules took effect on August 12 sparking anger among Vietnamese tourism experts and travel firms, who called them a discriminatory violation of the 2000 agreement.
Last year, 2,812 Vietnamese were arrested in Thailand, including 803 undocumented workers, according to Thai statistics.
It is estimated that some 500,000 Vietnamese people travel to Thailand every year.