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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsOfficials in Thailand Discussing Easing of Immigration Rules

Officials in Thailand Discussing Easing of Immigration Rules

Transcript of the above video:

As the title to this video suggests there may be some decent or better news on the horizon with respect to Thai Immigration. As the title of this video suggests, there has been some talk of perhaps easing certain aspects of Immigration processing here in the Kingdom. For those who keep up with this channel, it can seem as though it is a bit of a “Doom and Gloom” channel with respect to issues associated with Thai Visa applications and Thai Immigration processing. I shouldn't say “Doom and Gloom”  maybe but in the past few years we have seen Immigration tightening up regulations, tightening up enforcement activity, setting strict scrutiny guidelines than we have seen in the past.

That being said, in a recent article in the Nikkei Asia Review, that is asia.nikkei.com, the title of the article is “Thailand Considers Express Visa Issuance to Lure Foreign Business”. This was published May, 28th 2018. Quoting directly, “The Thai Government is planning to amend its foreign business law to boost inbound investment as it tries to stimulate economic growth to catch up with its neighbors.” Quoting further, “The measures under consideration include a Smart Visa Program which would give express visa issuance to selected applicants; the government has sent clear signals to foreign businesses that it is willing to facilitate investments.” Quoting further, “the Joint Chambers of Commerce are lobbying hard for foreign companies to bring in their own experts to work in Thailand”. Quoting further, “The Ministry could set up a special Committee of Representatives from related parties to see if the current visa rules could be relaxed but the official also said it was unclear how long the amendments would take.”

So what you take away from this? Well I think everybody is pretty aware of the fact that Thailand has a rather cumbersome Immigration regime in certain aspects. As noted in that particular article and I urge folks to go to the Nikkei Asia Review and check out that article. There is a lot more to it than what I quoted as I was specifically just trying to get some of the finer points in order to comment in this video. What I would take away from this is: Yes the Smart Visa, and we have discussed this at length, that structure is being implemented. When we are going to see large volumes of those being processed through remains to be seen but it is a substantial benefit and I think it is a benefit that we are likely to see, especially in large investments in the tech industry, here in Thailand in the relatively near future. But clearly Chambers of Commerce, as I have gone into great detail in other videos on this channel to discuss, joint Chambers are serious about talking to the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Government about perhaps ratcheting back some of the aspects of the Immigration process. In my opinion it might not be so much an issue of changing the underlying requirements but perhaps changing the processing procedures as again it is my opinion, that those procedures were put into place in a time pretty substantially different from our own; especially with respect to visa extension. That regime was set up at a time when people didn't regularly travel as much as they do now and as a result, the way that it is set up where effectively, especially for the first 30 days, it is rather difficult while the case is under review, to leave the country if one really needs to be in certain places at certain rigid times and dates in order to get their status rectified or renewed. These are all sort of problems that in the digital age can easily be solved. How they will be solved remains to be seen but I do find it interesting that it seems the Thai Government Officials are open to at least just discussing the possibility of maybe not being more flexible again on the underlined requirements but perhaps being more flexible with respect to how the overall process works.