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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawThailand Immigration LawWhy Do Different Thai Immigration Offices Have Differing Policies?

Why Do Different Thai Immigration Offices Have Differing Policies?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Immigration. 

I have been reading various reports on this channel from places like Phuket, Chiangmai, Pattaya and Bangkok regarding things like the TM30, Retirement Visa processing, just things having to do with Thai Immigration and a question I have gotten fairly frequently, mostly in person from folks who have seen videos on this channel, the question comes up as to why do these offices, these different provinces seem to have different policies?  The answer to that is "I don't know exactly",  but based on my experience and my insight for lack of better term in having dealt with some of these different offices, it seems to be sort of inherent to the system. It is kind of the "nature of the beast" if you will. That is a bit counter-intuitive if you come from a western tradition or especially the common law tradition,  the United States or the Commonwealth, Australia for example, the US or the United Kingdom for that matter where we have these kind of Federated Systems where in for example the United States there is the state sovereignty and the federal sovereignty and it is much more federated in the sense of the legal side of things but at the same time, the overall system is much more uniform when dealing with it as opposed to Thailand. Meanwhile, in Thailand one would presume that the system would be quite unitary because it doesn't really have that kind of federated aspect to it and therefore one would think that everything would be much more streamlined; that enforcement would be much more uniform and policy would be much more uniform and that just simply isn't the case. Immigration Offices in Thailand are tasked with basically comporting with Immigration Law, promulgating policy in order to have foreigners adhere to the statutory regulations and different offices use different methodologies to come to the same goal. To use an idiom from the US or I should say my part of the US, “there's a million ways to skin a cat”.

In Phuket for example at the time of this video are prioritizing to TM28 with respect to foreigners reporting their address. Meanwhile, Immigration Division One here in Bangkok is prioritizing the TM30. My opinion if you read the law and understand that the forms do not dictate the law, the law dictates the forms and the regulations, I can see the logic chain wherein you would say okay the TM30 is the correct form, a catch-all form to get everybody on board and everything on the same page for that information whereas I can also see am interpretation of the law as dictating “No, TM 28 is sufficient. Landlords only will deal with the TM30”. It is just interpretational and different offices are going to apply the law in different ways. This can be rather frustrating and can cause some consternation for foreigners having to deal with this but understand the best way to approach dealing with Thai Immigration is to get a handle on what Immigration does in your particular province. What the Immigration Office with jurisdiction over you is going to be doing about a given issue, not necessarily understanding the overarching policy because for example understanding what Bangkok Immigration is going to do may not be very helpful for someone in Chiangmai. So it is probably a good idea to get some to get a handle on these things on a local level rather than trying to understand it in the broad scheme of things and trying to then apply it locally. It is probably better to work from the ground up rather than the other way around.