Foreigners subject to immigration checks ahead of elections

3 Nov 15

MYANMAR

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Myanmar authorities are checking the immigration status of all foreigners as security grows tighter due to the upcoming election.

What does the change mean? To ensure that all foreigners are working and residing legally in Myanmar, authorities are inspecting immigration documents and Foreigner’s Registration Certificates. While some document inspections are scheduled, authorities can request to see a foreign national’s documents at any time.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing. Elections take place Nov. 8.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits; Foreigner’s Registration Certificates (FRCs).
  • Who is affected: Any foreign national currently in Myanmar.
  • Business impact: Businesses should make sure their foreign employees and visitors have valid visas, permits and FRCs, as appropriate. Also, foreign business travelers and residents should exercise caution, as political rallies and protests cause disruptions throughout the country before and after the elections.

Background: Elections in Myanmar are scheduled for Sunday and as part of heightened security, authorities are checking foreigners for visas and other documents to confirm legal status. Local authorities are scheduling appointments to meet with foreign residents at their homes, but inspections can also occur at company offices or other locations without warning. Foreign nationals are advised to keep their immigration documents with them at all times.

Foreign nationals should also limit their travel in Myanmar and, if traveling with family members, stay together. Rallies and protests should be avoided, as they may turn violent, and foreign nationals should be aware that taking photos or videos may draw negative attention from protesters and government security forces alike.

BAL Analysis: The heightened immigration enforcement will most likely continue for some time after the election. Foreign nationals should be aware of their surroundings and are advised to stay off the streets as much as possible, as government security forces will not differentiate protesters from bystanders, regardless of age or gender, if a rally turns violent.

This alert had been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Myanmar. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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