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Thailand tightens the screws on TM30 reporting, petition ongoing

Tim Newton

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Thailand tightens the screws on TM30 reporting, petition ongoing | The Thaiger

Nearly 5,000 Thai expats have now signed a petition pleading for modification or abolition of the TM30 immigration form. The well-organised petition calling for changes to the form is an unusual step for expats who, most of the time, keep their head down and out of the daily operations of the Land of Smiles.

For its part, Thai Immigration says it is simply robustly applying Sections 37 and 38 of the Thai immigration act to “strengthen security” and keep tabs on foreigners whilst in the country.

But the ‘robust application’ is causing headlines the Immigration Department would rather not see and is prompting panel discussions, YouTube interviews and online pleads from well-known bloggers and long-termers. There is one discussion planned for the Foreign Correspondents Club this Thursday.

The petition, whilst politely written, is not likely to succeed. The inconveniences to some locals needing to report their whereabouts when changing their reported address, will be outweighed by the need for national security.

That a group of foreigners could possibly change Thai laws to make things more convenient and useful, is also inconceivable. Even if there was some minor adjustment to the laws it could take years.

Bottomline, don’t get your hopes up.

In the meantime, the inconvenience of Section 37 will remain a clear and present annoyance. There has been no shortage of people spraying the internet with their individual problems and examples and the 24 hour reporting will certainly affect some expats more than others, especially travelling business-people whose movement around Thailand is just part of their work.

Tourists are not affected as the onus of reporting locations whilst on holiday is the responsibility of hotels and landlords.

The issue is being presented in the international media as a nail in the coffin for long-term living in Thailand. The reality is that expat numbers continue to rise although the demographic is evolving to the chagrin of many European, Australian and American expats who seem particularly aggrieved by the enforcement and have made their voices heard – through signing the petition and sharing their strongly-held feelings on various forums online.

The other issue angering or confusing expats is that, like many other immigration laws, the enforcement of the clauses continues to be patchy around the Kingdom – they really don’t know how, or if, it’s going to be enforced in their case. For the short-term we would recommend you play by the rules to avoid any unpleasant fines or surprises. If you have any queries it is best to visit an Immigration Office and ask questions to find out how it applies to your visa and situation.

Don Ross from ttrweekly.com shares some thoughts on how the laws could be changed…

“The director-general (usually the chief of police) can make changes to clauses 3 and 4. The DG can also through the Immigration Commission recommend a new ministerial regulation that updates the two clauses to make them more in tune with today’s online realities.

One possible change would be to stipulate that clause 4 reporting only kicks in after 72 hours away from home, rather than 24 hours. It would allow thousands of expatriates who are long-stay or retirees to visit other provinces for up to three days without triggering a clause 4 reporting hassle.”

If you want to read and sign the petition click HERE.

Thailand tightens the screws on TM30 reporting, petition ongoing | News by The Thaiger

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now CEO and writer for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He presented for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and provides stories for Feature Story News as the south east Asian correspondent.

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Expats

Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple

May Taylor

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Thai app will ease expat immigration woes and make 90 day reporting simple | The Thaiger

The “OSS Foreigner” app is coming, and you will be able to use it for 90 day reporting, according to the Secretary-General at the office of the PM.

Dr Kobsak Pootrakool says the planned app can be used for all immigration reporting, including 90 day reports, adding that typing in the required data and uploading a selfie will accomplish the same result as filling out paperwork at the local immigration office but without having to make the trip there.

Dr Kobsak has been given responsibility for sorting out the TM30 debate and says the immigration app, called OSS Foreigner, is nearly complete and should make all those who live and work in Thailand feel more welcome and make compliance easier and more convenient.

The TM30 form, and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat displeasure over the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law that required foreigners to report their whereabouts if they had stayed overnight at an address different from their registered address.

This latest move comes as part of a wider program to make Thai public services more efficient, with Dr Kobsak making the announcement while outlining plans for all Thai government departments to embrace digital technology by as early as 2022. Meanwhile, the Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is championing a programme to improve Thai public services for both Thai citizens and foreigners.

“The government’s new approach to IT and digital technology is designed to deliver a smarter, easier service as part of the Thailand 4.0 economic model.”

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Expats

“Auf Wiedersehen” to overstaying German on Koh Samui

Greeley Pulitzer

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“Auf Wiedersehen” to overstaying German on Koh Samui | The Thaiger

PHOTO: TripSavvy.com

A contingent of immigration and tourist police have arrested a 49 year old German who had overstayed his visa in the kingdom on Koh Samui for 14 days. He will likely be blacklisted from re-entering Thailand for a period following his overstay.

The man, identified only as Manfred L, was taken into custody near the Bo Phut market on the ring road that encircles the island.

Naew Na news agency, always the first with Immigration stories, says the arrest was in keeping with immigration policy and that the public could call 1178 to report violators. They published a picture of the arrested man with his face hidden by a graphic saying “bye”.

We chose a pretty picture of Koh Samui instead.

SOURCES: Naew Na News | Thai Visa

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Expats

Mandatory health insurance for ‘Long Stay’ visa starts October 31

The Thaiger

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Mandatory health insurance for ‘Long Stay’ visa starts October 31 | The Thaiger

Foreigners applying for a Non O-A visa will be required to purchase health insurance from October 31, according to Thaivisa.

NonImmigrant VisaO-A” (Long Stay)

This type of visa may be issued to applicants aged 50 years and over who wish to stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 1 year without the intention of working. Holder of this type of visa is allowed to stay in Thailand for 1 year.

“The requirements, first mooted back in May, are now confirmed in a police order posted on the Immigration website. Applicants are required to have 40,000 baht outpatient coverage and 400,000 baht inpatient coverage.”

According to the order, health insurance is not required for those applying for an extension of stay based on retirement and only applies to Non O-A visas. Non O-A visas are obtained from an embassy or consulate outside of Thailand. Full details of the new requirements can be found HERE.

As of yet, there is no information on the new insurance requirements on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and at the time of posting O-A visas are still being issued without insurance.

Thaivisa understands an official announcement is due to be made at a press conference in Bangkok later on Wednesday (9 October).

SOURCE: ThaiVisa

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