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.

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