“It’s really not that hard” – panel discussion on Thai immigration form TM30

PHOTO: ThaiVisa

A panel discussion about the controversial TM30 form was held yesterday at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok.

The panel line-up included Sebastian Brousseau from Isaan Lawyers who has been involved in the recent online petition which called for TM30 to be abolished. Also Richard Barrow, blogger and long-term expat, made a presentation calling for “clarity and consistency” in the enforcement of TM30 around the country. Chris Larkin, director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Maj. Gen. Patipat Suban Na Ayudhya, Head of Immigration Division 1 were also on yesterday’s panel.

Invited Immigration Oficer Pol Col. Thatchapong Sarawannangkul had the line of the day in his opening comments about filing a TM30 form saying it was “really not that hard”.

Audible gasps of either faux or real shock were heard around the room.

The officer went on to say that immigration is trying to make it easier for people and urged them to make use of the TM30 website and mobile App. But many in the room complained that people who had registered for the online services were having to wait up to six weeks for a username and password when trying to use the App.

Pol Col. Thatchapong said that some of the delays were put down to “technical problems”, and because some of those people who had registered for the service had not submitted the correct documentation.

He also hammered home the point that the main reasoning behind the TM30 form was “national security and it was needed in order to fight terrorism and other crime”.

Pol Col. Thatchapong stressed that the Immigration Bureau in Thailand is here to help people and that TM30 helps keep people in Thailand safe – including foreigners.

But there were also suggestions how TM30 could be more effective and less inconvenient.

Chris Larkin suggested that immigration should make the pink ID card more accessible to foreigners and that it could potentially be used as a replacement for TM30, TM28 and TM47 (90 day reporting).

Maj. Gen. Patipat Suban Na Ayudhya said the feedback from the event would be passed onto his superiors at Thai Immigration.

Jonathan Fairfield, reporting for ThaiVisa, said that it was good that senior immigration officials were able to attend the event.

“As is often the way with immigration matters in Thailand, I think many people will have left the event with more questions than they got answers regarding TM30.”

“After hearing the comments from the Immigration officials, my own view is that I don’t think TM30 will go away any time soon.”

It is the first time there’s been such a large and organised expat revolt over a single issue in Thailand and the attendance and involvement of Immigration officials has been heartening. But making concrete changes to the enforcement of the TM30 and other ‘pesky’ immigration paperwork is considered unlikely by many long-termers.

If you would like to sign the ongoing petition calling for reform of the TM30, go HERE.

SOURCE: ThaiVisa

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