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Phuket Opinion: Pushing buttons

Phuket Opinion: Pushing buttons

PHUKET: The archaic law requiring long-term expats to re-register their address, in person no less, at Phuket Immigration every time they decide to fly to Bangkok and stay for even one night on business or go for a short holiday anywhere in the country – ironically as the Thai government ramps up its domestic tourism push – needs to be brought into the 21st century.

opinionimmigrationtechnologytourismeconomics
By The Phuket News

Sunday 28 January 2018, 09:00AM


An expat fills out a form to register her address again with Phuket Immigration. Photo: The Phuket News

An expat fills out a form to register her address again with Phuket Immigration. Photo: The Phuket News

The law was drafted in 1979, pretty much as the last of the US Army GIs were still shipping out and long before the first real tourists graced these shores in numbers – the precursor to the mass tourism Thailand enjoys today.

Many expats living on the island have long been key drivers in tourism and other industries that has made Phuket – as Bangkok is so proud to point out time and again – the highest-revenue generating province in the country outside the Bangkok metropolitan area.

Punishing such foreigners who have brought so much benefit for Thais living in Phuket, and helped to create so many jobs that sustain so many families on the island, is absurd.

We understand that Phuket Immigration is bound by rules it does not create, and that every time there is a security scare immigration superiors in Bangkok bleat to crack down on security measures, thus dusting off old laws for nothing better than a public show of effort.

Trust us, if the honest, law-abiding expats who do take the time to re-register their address know this procedure is a waste of time… the bad guys certainly know it. The procedure achieves nothing.

Bangkok should at the very least make good on the Prime Minister’s promise of using technology to improve work efficiency of its officials – yes, that “Thailand 4.0” promise – while at the same time making it more convenient for foreigners to fulfil this requirement.

In short, if a mobile phone today can scan a fingerprint – or even a face – and match it to a data account, then why not install a simple device at the immigration office so foreigners can get this procedure over and done with in seconds, forgoing the long queues at the Immigration office.

The fearful in Bangkok could require such a machine to be installed only at Immigration offices, which would help to placate their concerns with a photo of the foreigner being taken every time this is done.

Sometimes the small things, simple things, mean so much and make much more sense.

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Concernd | 30 January 2018 - 08:49:34

Perhaps an old outdated senseless law from the days where they hadn’t computers which needs get revised? Gorge Orwell 1984, Idea perhaps handing out on arrival GPS tracking bracelet to TH visitors? Imaging scenario; 100+ honest Tourists travel around Thailand in the town where they stay overnight they go to the local office and tell them that they here total chaos back again the same amazing sce

Kurt | 29 January 2018 - 09:55:39

Once arriving at BKK 'Swampie', you pass Immigration over there or when you are in transit on Phuket airport.
At both Immigration locations with your TM.6 Arrival Card, on which is your Thailand address written.
You get a stamp on your TM.6 departure card and a stamp in your passport.
So, thai legally you did fully report to thai Immigration after your return.
What more they want? And ...

Fascinated | 28 January 2018 - 21:26:22

@Shwe- I posed this question the other week at Imm in Hkt town. The response I got was that so long as the report was made within 'a reasonable time" it would not be an issue. I suppose a lot relies on ones attitude when engaging with the IOs. of course its impossible to do this within 24 hrs at the weekend but I understand an online reporting and self-reporting link is being started (goo...

DeKaaskopp | 28 January 2018 - 17:38:54

"I am out of here"!Congratulation,very much appreciated.Whoever can't adopt to the style of living here should follow your example.Much better as having an  agonizing life here and whinging about it all the time. Good luck!

malczx7r | 28 January 2018 - 14:06:01

Yep, after my holiday in Panglao, Bohol, Philippines, I\'ve made my mind up, i\'m out of here, what a difference there, respectful, careful drivers, polite, clean, way cheaper, great cheap taxis- tricycles. Bye bye Thailand, i\'ll take my money where people appreciate it.

Jor12 | 28 January 2018 - 12:45:59

Given the junta's s.44 order to suspend the 3 bodies overseeing law reform, there is little or no prospect of any legal reform. As the World Bank points out, "Poor quality of legislation: The 1997 economic crisis renewed attention to the need for a legal reform in Thailand. The legal system was incapable in dealing with economic and social situation of the present day world."

Shwe | 28 January 2018 - 10:16:47

OK so you arrive back in Thailand at swampy around midnight Friday and catch the first flight to Phuket on Saturday, where do you report within 24 hours?

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