Thailand has some tracking and address reporting laws that would be considered extreme in an Orwellian state. Foreigners are required to report their where abouts to the immigration police within 24 hours of moving to another location (using form TM28).
In addition Thai hotels or accommodation owners are also required to report the comings and goings of foreigners to immigration police also within 24 hours (using form TM30).
In fact in Pattaya/Chonburi only this 2nd requirement has been enforced by
the police, but with the unjust tweak that the foreigner is forced to pay the fines of the Thai accommodation owners should the TM30 not be sent to the police.
Now Thailand has announced that TM28 is no longer required. In fact Immigration has not
formally revoked the requirement, just made more or less everyone exempt.
But for all the fanfare the TM30 location reporting requirement is still very much in force. Saying that immigration do seem to have relaxed on the concept of holding
foreigners responsible for the failures of the property owners to comply.
Thailand has long been an attractive destination for Western expats - where money goes further and can buy a good quality of life. But the revival of an arcane immigration law has angered the expat community and got them questioning their freedoms in
Thailand, as George Styllis reports from Bangkok.
I've been made to feel as if I'm not welcome here , says Zareeka Gardner, a 25-year-old English teacher from the US. Since arriving in Thailand in April, she has racked up
immigration fines totalling 12,400 baht (£330). A large part of that is because her apartment manager failed to promptly file a form saying where she was staying.
Thailand's Immigration Act contains a clause requiring all
foreigners to let the authorities know where they're staying at all times.
Previously this job has been done by hotels collecting guests' details, or it was just ignored. But as of March, the government has been applying the law
without compromise or exception.
Landlords must notify immigration authorities whenever a foreigner returns home after spending more than 24 hours away from their permanent residence - be it a trip abroad or even leaving the
province. The same applies to foreigners married to Thais - their Thai spouse, if they own the house, must file the report.
The form, known as a TM30, must be submitted within 24 hours of the foreigner's arrival or the property
owner will be fined. If the fine isn't paid, the foreigner will be unable to renew their visa or other permits until that's rectified.
Long-term foreign residents of the kingdom have spent the weekend scratching their heads in bewilderment over the baffling requirements of the now notorious TM30 form after a recent forum at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) with senior
Thai immigration officials present on the panel.
On Thursday evening at the FCCT, foreign expats and guest speakers alike expressed concerns about the lack of clarity and consistency in the application of the TM30 regulation, and
the officials said they would do their best to forward the complaints and queries to Immigration Bureau