Leaving Hong Kong, I noticed there was a immigration slip given to us when we first arrived.
I was granted 90-day visa free period stay (until 30 Mar 2016), versus bf’s 30-day visa free period (until 30 Jan 2016). Bf told me previously that Thai nationalities have a lot of travel limitations: visas are required for many countries. Malaysians for example, enjoy 30-day visa free to European countries, but not Thai nationalities.
I was curious about the difference, and set to find out what is the gap like?
On Wikipedia, it says: “The poorer, the less democratic and the more exposed to armed political conflict the target country is, the more likely that visa restrictions are in place against its passport holders. The same is true for countries whose nationals have been major perpetrators of terrorist acts in the past,” Professor Eric Neumayer of the London School of Economics.
I have heard lots of Indexes before, but not this one. Have you heard of Visa Restriction Index?
The Visa Restrictions Index is a global ranking by Henry & Partners, a global consulting firm. It ranks countries in accordance to the travel freedom that their citizens enjoy.
These are the results for ASEAN countries:
Updated Aug 2016: Malaysia rank 12 (score 164) vs Thailand rank 67 (score 71)
Malaysia is ranked at no 9, with a total score of 163 ….
whereas Thailand is ranked at no 69, with a total score of 69.
A little bit more on Thailand’s numbers. It is ranked at no 69, but there are more than 100 countries before them, with passports more valuable than the Thai passport. The number is ‘disconnect’ because there were countries in a ‘tied’ position. For example, Hungary had a score of 163, tied with Malaysia for 9th position.
What does the score denotes? It basically stands for the no of countries that we can access / travel to without a visa: 163 countries for Malaysia and 69 countries for Thailand.
I lifted these from Nation newspaper here:
“General Thai passport-holders have to stand in long queues waiting for their visa applications to be approved. Ordinary Thais also have to endure constant cynicism and even verbal abuse from the assigned personnel along the way, not to mention the numerous problems they have to overcome in order to get permission to enter. Worse, at some of the immigration checkpoints, especially in Europe, Thai passport holders will receive special treatment with sinister questions and suspicious looks from some officials, as if the visitors are criminals or terrorists on the loose. Some have even been turned back.”
I emphatize with the Thai people.
Being a Malaysian passport holder, I was also treated with suspicions during my last Europe backpacking trip. So, I understand how it makes me feel. I still remember the treatment I got at the UK border check at the Euro Tunnel. Returning my passport after checking, I felt that the immigration officer was playing ‘fetch’ with a dog (dangling my passport at the other side, than where I was standing). Was that necessary?