Showing posts with label Landlords. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Landlords. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Thailand - TM30 not fit for purpose

In March, the Immigration Bureau resurrected the draconian regulation known as TM30 with the aim of keeping track of foreigners' whereabouts. It is legitimate to wonder whether any foreign criminals have disclosed their movements to authorities via the TM30 form.

The possibility seems unlikely, even though this is the ultimate goal of the latest enforcement of this regulation. What is certain, though, is that it has blighted the lives of law-abiding foreigners with a hellish web of paperwork.

Over the past couple of months, a broad spectrum of expat communities here have chorused their disagreement with the regulation, sharing experiences of how the law has made their stay in the country unnecessarily complicated and is affecting the ease of doing business and investment here.

This diverse feedback should be treated as strong enough evidence for Thailand to put an end to the hassle. And a solution could be as simple as amending the 1979 Immigration Act. But the outpouring of expat frustration seems to have fallen on deaf ears in government.

The regulation was made at a time when the country was facing an influx of Vietnamese and Cambodians fleeing conflicts at home, and authorities understandably wanted to keep an eye on them. This was also a time when the number of foreigners was just a small fraction of the current figure.

The Immigration Act's Section 38 requires that landlords must report the presence of any foreign tenants to authorities within 24 hours of their arrival.

Section 37 imposes the same rule on foreigners. They must report their nightly whereabouts, as and when they move around the country.

Failure to report means a fine of 800 to 2,000 baht and also the risk that the foreigner may be denied extension or renewal of their visa or work permit.

As time went by, the regulation fell into disuse, largely because it was no longer practical and too rigid. Reporting foreigners' whereabouts to authorities was mainly done by hotel operators on a weekly basis to comply with the 2004 Hotel Act.

In the absence of TM30 enforcement, the country had been efficiently managing expats and tourists via the hotel law and other immigration regulations. Everyone seemed to be happy, until the TM30 rule was dusted off and began baffling both Thai landlords and expats.

The Immigration Bureau has cited national security as the reason for enforcing the law again, expressing concern over foreign criminals who stay here for extended periods.

But immigration officials' mission to keep "bad guys out" must now be bogged down by the huge volume of paperwork triggered by the revival of TM30 rules.

Ensuring public safety is a noble cause. But it won't be achieved by applying the toothless and outdated TM30 regulation as a blanket measure that treats all foreigners as criminal suspects whose movements need to be strictly monitored.

Officials appear to have forgotten that this self-disclosure measure only affects law-abiding people. Criminals or terrorists will not be as naive as to tip off authorities about their movements or even inform their landlords.

Authorities must come up with alternative anti-terrorism and anti-crime strategies if they want to stay a step ahead of foreign criminals.

The TM30 has done more harm than good. The government and parliamentarians should push for amendments to the Immigration Act to do away with it.

Source - BangkokPost

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Thailand tightens the screws on TM30 reporting, petition ongoing

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 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.

Source - The Thaiger

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Junta reminds landlords to report all foreign tenants to Immigration Bureau, #Thailand

A junta announcement last Wednesday reminding property owners to notify the Immigration Bureau of all foreign tenants within 24 hours ruffled feathers in Thailand’s expat real estate community, but the little-enforced law has been on the books for decades.

The National Council for Peace and Order’s televised address on Sept. 2 at noon requested “Homeowners and owners of hotels, apartments, and accommodation buildings where there are foreigners staying in the accommodation to inform officials at nearest immigration bureau or the local police station within 24 hours of the foreigner's arrival at the premises."

The announcement caused consternation in the Bangkok rental property scene.

“I hadn’t noticed Wednesday’s announcement on this so I’m in trouble for not reporting my own tenant,” an executive at Colliers International Thailand told real estate website Dot Property.
“This regulation has always been on the books but not enforced,” said Simon Landy, Chairman of Colliers International Thailand “In the wake of the arrest of the Erawan suspect in a rented apartment someone decided it should be enforced.”

The other real estate firms contacted were either “unaware of the announcement, or were not prepared to comment on it.”

It appears that the little-known-about law has been around for decades, but was only re-emphasized in the wake of the Erawan bombing.

According to the 1979 Immigration Act, “House owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration authorities within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national.”

One official at the Government Contact Center told Coconuts Bangkok that the investigation into the bombing opened up the eyes of the government about how little the law has been enforced.
“The NCPO only encouraged landlords to notify the immigration office as accordance to the law," Yingsak Dechyuwawech said "After the bombing, authorities found out through investigation that many landlords do not report their foreign tenants."
NCPO commented on their televised address Wednesday that reporting foreign tenants was “another method of building security and promoting safety for tourists.”