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Phuket Opinion: TM30 storm in a teacup

Phuket Opinion: TM30 storm in a teacup

PHUKET: Once again Phuket Immigration has taken its stand in the national spotlight by making it very clear that foreigners will not be held responsible for filing the now notorious TM30 form, requiring landlords who provide accommodation to foreigners to inform Immigration within 24 hours of the arrival of their tenants.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 1 September 2019, 09:00AM

An officer approves an application at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

An officer approves an application at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

That obligation lies with the owner of the property, not the guests. A simple notification of address completed by the TM28 form is all that is required by those renting or leasing their abodes in order to submit their application for a one-year “extension” to a permit to stay. (See story here.)

Other immigration offices in the country seem to be unable to say that clearly, or just don’t want to.

None of this with the TM30 is new to any hotel or even guesthouse operator, for whom reporting guests checking in has been standard for decades, but the problem does rear its ugly head when it comes to new landlords, both Thai and foreign.

After years of a seemingly nationwide push for foreigners to buy condos, Thailand today has more foreign landlords than ever before, and the rapid growth of the Airbnb platform in the country has opened the door for nearly anyone to accept a foreigner – tourist or expat – as a tenant.

That leaves the problem two-fold: Thais who just don’t know the law, and foreigners who either don’t know the law or just don’t understand it because they lack Thai language skills.

Laguna Golf Phuket

The Thai government must roll out a big public awareness campaign to bring this to new landlords’ attention. Enough seems to have been done in English to explain the TM30 to a cast of expats who felt they were subjected to it.

Many of those same foreigners showed much confusion of the TM30 with the TM28, the requirement for foreigners to re-report as staying at their registered address even if they stayed away for just one night, as required under Section 37 (c) of the now 40-year-old Thailand Immigration Act. That confusion now seems to have been dealt with, too.

Yet none of that progress in explaining the two requirements dismisses the need for simple, streamlined processes to abide by both requirements, for landlords and foreigners staying in the country.

As mentioned in this same space previously, the TM28 24-hour notification still needs a serious review, asking whether it is needed at all, and if it is to remain, how to make it as less onerous as possible.

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Kurt | 15 September 2019 - 10:18:33

That whole TM 28/30 thing not works when Immigration only works 5 day a week, or sometimes 3 days a week during 2 weeks ( 9-10-11,  and 17-18-19 April). How can visiting friends report when they arrive Friday evening and depart again on Sunday evening? If 'National Security' is a reason during weekends too, than there must be Immigration officers for this purpose working on Saturday and Su...

Christy Sweet | 03 September 2019 - 00:49:27

*Edit: "Some sort..." [Hating the new non-edit function.]

CaptainJack69 | 02 September 2019 - 14:56:36

I think Phuket immigration's opinion of TM30 is the same as all foreigners, that's it's stupid. That's why they've never bothered enforcing it. It's only the last year or so they've started bothering people over it, and that's only tourists. Long-term visas don't seem to be affected at all. Any problem can simply be ironed out when you do your extension.

Christy Sweet | 02 September 2019 - 12:31:30

Not sure why the headline writer  thinks having to report my address-driving two hours to do so, for the same address I've had for almost 8 years- each and every time I leave my residence for 24 hours, as if I'm sort sort of dangerous sex offender- is nothing to gripe about.  It's pure harassment for harassment's sake. 

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