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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsWill There Ever Be a Single ASEAN Visa Scheme?

Will There Ever Be a Single ASEAN Visa Scheme?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today we're going to be discussing the prospect of an ASEAN Visa Scheme. I have read about this a lot in the past. I've discussed this. I am not certain I've done a video on this topic per se; that was the reason I decided to do this video but in the past the so-called Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, various leaders within the ASEAN community have discussed over the years a single ASEAN Visa Scheme so one visa for, presumably, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Brunei; all of these countries having one single visa scheme. There was a recent article in the Nation at “nationmultimedia.com”; it was published December 28th, 2017.  The title of the article was "Forum to Help Boost ASEAN Tourism" And I'm going to be quoting here from Tourism and Sports Ministry’s Permanent Secretary. The quote within this article states "ASEAN's Tourist Ministers also will be meeting to discuss the introduction of a single visa for ASEANs. This is part of our move to make the ASEAN single destination concept come to fruition", he said.  "However this agenda will require discussions among more parties. We will consider the issue but the final say will come down to the individual Governments". A couple of things to keep in mind here, and I think they are of note, is I do think there are people who are rather serious about creating an ASEAN Visa Scheme but as noted  in there this is ultimately going to come down to a national level consensus. So law makers in Bangkok and law makers in Phnom Penh and Vientiane and Ho Chi Minh City etc., etc. they have to make a decision whether to integrate into this overarching sort of super national system if one ever comes to fruition. That's going to take some time. It's always been my experience, at least from watching politics, that getting politicians to do anything is an exercise in “herding cats”! It's like trying to get, it's very difficult to gain a consensus on any of these issues. That being said, I think most of the parties can see that there is an economic benefit to  be gained by having a sort  of a one visa platform most notably from certain kinds of tourism. Now that being said, primary destination jurisdictions such as Thailand for example, may not benefit as much from a single ASEAN visa scheme as say a secondary jurisdiction like Laos and Cambodia where currently it's required for say a US passport holder who comes to Thailand, they get stamped in at the airport, but if they want to go to Cambodia they have got to do a "visa on arrival", if they want to go to Laos they have got to do a "visa on arrival". Not a particularly difficult process, $30-35 you get the visa it takes 5 to 15 minutes something like that at the port of entry but it does create a hassle and sometimes having a hassle like that can be a bar to somebody saying "yeah I don't really feel like spending 2 days over on the other side of the border up in Laos. Why not just stay where I am at? Why not just stay for example in Chiang Mai?" Why do I need to do this, to go over to Laos for example? I am just sort of speculating. But you can see that maybe Thailand might be a little bit more hesitant to adopt this then say Laos would. And there are other considerations. Security is an issue and there are other considerations from other countries. Vietnam may not want to have a single ASEAN scheme because it may make certain types of unwanted individuals able come into the country. I don't know. That is purely hypothetical. I am just speculating but that being said, it would be interesting to see what a single ASEAN visa scheme would look like. I think it would probably be one of those situations where a "rising tide would raise all ships" but it's yet to be implemented. I will keep making videos on the topic as and when I see that there's any development that's worth note.