An industry gathering held by Thailand’s Tourism Authority proposed that all visas be waived (TAT)

After opposing a similar decision in cabinet in August 2019 for both India and China, which was later overturned and replaced with visa price waivers, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to investigate the plan to make all visas free. The admissions process should include immunization and health status verification, according to the industry, and the visa-on-arrival program should be expanded to include all countries. On Friday, Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of Thailand’s Tourism Authority (TAT), appeared to support a number of proposals, including extending the visa-on-arrival concession to all countries, waiving all visa fees for six months starting July 1st, and increasing the length of stay on incoming tourist visas from 30 to 45 days. At a meeting hosted by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn on Friday, Thai tourism industry representatives agreed on a set of proposals that will be presented to up to four key government committees in the coming week, including the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) chaired by Prayut Chan ocha on June 17th.

The meeting also approved Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn’s earlier proposal to scrap the Thailand Pass, while it appeared to acknowledge that passengers must still show proof of immunization or health status, as well as medical health insurance, before entering the country. The recommendations ask for the visa-on-arrival concession to be extended to all nations globally beginning July 1st next year in order to improve foreign tourism numbers in the second half of the year. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn hosted a meeting of foreign tourism industry representatives at which a wide range of plans were approved to be presented to the government as a way to boost foreign tourist inflows in the second half of the year, as Thailand relies on the industry’s recovery to fuel economic growth in 2022.

The government has eliminated the TM6 entry and exit papers in an effort to reduce red tape for visitors.

As a result of the immigration reporting restrictions that have prompted indignation and mounting resentment, the prime minister’s office’s Kobsak Pootrakool (inset) has pledged that a smartphone has been ordered and that ‘life would be better’ for foreigners in the country in two to three months.

He predicted that the app would be available in two to three months and would address the current issues. The announcement comes as the President of the European Association of Business and Commerce has cautioned Thailand’s government that the debate over the TM28 and TM30 forms is impeding the country’s efforts to attract foreign investment.

After a high-level conference last Friday, the Thai government agreed to delete the TM6 immigration reporting form, which a senior immigration officer at Suvarnabhumi Airport displayed on Wednesday. Even as the Thai government released an easy-to-use software that will consolidate the reports with the 90-day address reporting requirement, the President of the European Association of Business and Commerce has spoken out firmly against the continued enforcement of TM28 and TM30 immigration reporting. ‘Life will be a lot simpler in two to three months,’ said Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Kobsak Pootrakool on Tuesday night.

Thailand’s inbound investment goals are being impeded by the TM30 issue, according to a European business organization. The association’s president, on the other hand, praised the government for recent actions aimed at making inward investment easier and more appealing to multinational companies, but stated that the TM30 debate is impeding these efforts. ‘We fear the TM30 is currently eroding those excellent results,’ he continued. ‘We applaud the administration’s efforts to make doing business more convenient.’

A senior government official is optimistic about the progress to be made in the coming months. Mr Kobsak was upbeat about the proposed reforms on Tuesday evening, which might lead to future modifications to visa and work permit restrictions for foreigners working for companies that set up shop in Thailand as part of the government’s effort to attract new business.

The senior official and former minister in the Prime Minister’s Office was present at a dinner in a Bangkok hotel to commemorate Elite Plus magazine’s fifth anniversary, which was attended by diplomats and representatives from at least ten foreign embassies. ‘We decided last Friday,’ Kobsak said, ‘and life will be significantly easier in two to three months.’

Last Friday, a meeting chaired by Kobsak Pootrakool, the Prime Minister’s deputy secretary-general, decided to launch a smartphone app that will allow long-stay foreigners in Thailand to submit 90-day reporting information as well as the TM30 and TM 28 forms, which have sparked so much controversy since their implementation at the end of March this year. The axing of TM6 rather than TM30, as most outsiders had hoped, occurred during the anticipated Friday meeting.

On Wednesday, the immigration office recognized the removal of TM6 cards as well as a plan to use a smartphone app to meet reporting obligations. A smartphone app allows foreigners to report crimes. The group has cautioned that the two reporting forms are creating a difficult situation for foreigners and expats, and that it is unproductive and damaging to Thailand’s tourist prospects and visitors’ perceptions of the country as a business destination. The difficulties and sufferings of foreigners are harming Thailand’s tourism potential.

When contacted by Khaosod, Nattapon Sawaengkit, a deputy immigration commander, could only confirm the stories’ authenticity and referred reporters to an unnamed official.

The new technology would employ QR codes, according to one immigration officer, but he declined to explain on how it will work other than to say that it will be compatible with cellphones. According to the government official, the TM6 arrival and departures card, which is familiar to every foreigner in Thailand, is also being phased out. TM6 had never been used previously, it was discovered. According to estimates, Thailand is expecting to have 40 million visitors this year, and the cards were just stored and never used by authorities or security agencies. They also stated that TM30 would continue to exist. Mr Kobsak said on Tuesday that current immigration laws like TM30 and TM28 will be implemented, but that foreigners will find them easier to follow. He acknowledged that the Thai government still had work to do to make the country more business and labor friendly. The news comes as another global business representative organization has called for the TM 30 and TM 28 reporting systems to be phased out completely. A large government agency, according to the Foreign Chambers of Commerce, wanted it destroyed.

The European Association of Business and Commerce issued a statement on Wednesday requesting that the two reporting forms be completely removed. The flawed immigration reporting forms, according to a European industry body, should be eliminated. ‘It’s difficult to understand how self-disclosure-based security can be a positive solution,’ said the organization’s President, Jan Eriksson.

This follows a statement made a few weeks ago by Stanley Kang of Thailand’s Joint Foreign Chamber of Commerce, in which he not only asked for the provision to be made easier to comply with, but also implied that a key task force in the Thai government charged with reducing red tape and bureaucracy is also in favor of eliminating the controversial reporting requirements. The guillotine group is the name of the unit.

Mr Eriksson said his group had made a detailed proposal to Mr Kobsak at the Prime Minister’s Office, as well as the Minister of the Interior, General Anupong Paojinda, and the Immigration Bureau Director, Sompong Chingduang, on all types of foreigners remaining in the country. The government has been asked to make changes to a number of visa kinds and statuses.

TM6 will be shut out, and the TM30 App will be introduced

The same legislation applied to landlords and property owners, who were obligated to report foreigners sleeping in their premises within 24 hours. Along the way, there were gaps in the enforcement, with all kinds of variations and conundrums being addressed at planned panel sessions and online, with little of it settled with any certainty by Thai immigration officials. “We made our decision last Friday. In two to three months, things will be considerably better for international tourists and expats. Foreigners would be able to notify immigration officials of their movements with just four clicks on their smartphone, allowing them to meet the 90-day reporting deadline.”

Thai immigration is not only getting rid of the TM6 forms, but they’re also planning to introduce a new mobile phone app to make TM30 reporting even easier, according to Nattapon Sawaengkit, the Deputy Immigration Commander, approved the decision to move TM30 reporting online, but outsourced responsibility for explaining the facts to another official. In what appears to be a significant overhaul of immigration procedures, dare we say “modernisation,” foreign travelers will soon no longer be required to fill out the “TM6” arrival papers. The white and blue form, which travellers attempt to fill out on planes or quickly when arriving at immigration counters without them, has baffled passengers for decades.

He also mentioned that a smartphone app could make TM30 reporting more convenient. The Prime Minister’s Deputy Secretary-General, Kobsak Pootrakool, said on Tuesday that a new software is being developed to allow long-stay foreigners to submit their 90-day reporting using their smartphones. According to Kobsak, the changes are designed to attract more visitors while simultaneously providing for the kingdom’s current residents. The TM30 form and its companion, the TM28, have been a source of expat annoyance for the past five months since the immigration department decided to enforce a little-used 1979 law requiring foreigners to report their whereabouts if they stayed overnight at an address other than their registered address. For a variety of reasons, including the storage of all the white and blue cards, the decision to go all-digital with the arrival procedure was made.

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