Off Topic but something which might be of interest to the long-stay crowd

Lone Rider

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Expats air their concerns with Minister of Tourism & Sports

An extract of the proceedings of ahigh level meeting between the Minister of Tourism & Sports, the Tourism organization of Chiangmai and Lampang. The Chamber of Commerce, Immigration and the local Expat Community

The whole report can be found at: Chiangmai-Mail

.......................................... This was followed by a panel led by British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson consisting of representatives from four different countries and areas; Toshiki Kawashita representing Japanese long-stayers, Mun Ryung Dal of Korea, Montha Chiang representing Taiwan and Nancy Lindley representing USA, Australia and Europe.

Nancy noted that the service problems expats face in Chiang Mai Immigration are not duplicated across the country, that all they want is an equivalent service level to that given in Phuket or Pattaya. She also asked that Chiang Mai Immigration fall in line with other offices in enforcing rules, noting the implementation of the requirement of a TM30 form by people applying for extensions noting that some people have been forced to move because their landlord cannot or will not supply the needed form. Other provinces do not require this form.

She mentioned national problems such as 90 day reporting, the foreign national information forms and spot checks on homes. Locally Chiang Mai suffers from poor air quality, “The seasonal issue is getting worse and needs to be addressed” and finally other issues expats face around the country such as health insurance, property ownership and getting scammed out life savings buying homes they do not own, allowing volunteerism from those on retirement visas and the issue of digital nomads who work online, get paid overseas and yet have no access to a long-term visa.

Toshiki mentioned that while he gains many benefits from living in Chiang Mai he would like to contribute to society in Chiang Mai and yet is not allowed to do so as he is on retirement visa. Montha came next saying she is Thai but her husband is from Taiwan and the issues they face on the marriage visa extension even though he has been in Chiang Mai for many years. From the need to prove income with a letter, to providing the same documentation year after year, even though they are still married to the lack of a online queue reservation system.

One member of the audience noted that the technology exists to solve many of these problems but the government does not utilize it. Ben Svasti Thomson informed the audience that everything was being recorded and would be presented to the Minister as well as their questions when she arrived.

The Minister flew in from Bangkok arriving in time to speak with the group at the end, bringing up His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyuadej. Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said, “I am talking about His Majesty the King because the way of His Majesty was to welcome all. I am here to walk his path. I know there have been many obstacles, many promises that have never been realized so I want to make sure that we still walk this path, to solve these problems together.”

She continued, “We have just finished drafting the four-year long term policy for the path of tourism. Tourism for old age and tourism for all is part of our four-year strategy, we have included medical and wellness. The Ministries recognize the importance of this and it will be part of the ten most important industries for investment.”

................................ “I come with realistic news and to hear realistic plans for the future. We never stop to work for you because you are friends of our country as per our King.” She then called on members of the group to address long-term issues that need to be addressed.

The smoke issue is a major concern of everyone who lives in Chiang Mai, this writer pointed out, it affects tourism by turning away visitors, grounding planes and affects the health of everyone who lives here, expats and Thais alike. While it is a regional issue affecting not just Chiang Mai but Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai the solutions must be made at the local level. Local enforcement of the no burning laws must be done, local governments need to enforce the laws and people need to understand that they cannot burn.

The Minister replied that the government does place the smoke issue as one of its top problems but added that the issue has become international with Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia also burning. She said the government feels that education on the issues and a concerted education campaign can work to address these issues.

Nancy Lindley addressed the concerns she had brought up in the panel; why Chiang Mai Immigration has such major issues in providing services that other Immigration offices do not, why they insist on enforcing difficult rules that no other office does. The Minister said she will look into why Chiang Mai Immigration is less effective and said she sees this will have a solution in the short to medium term.

Nancy brought up the need for some kind of health care for expats, suggesting that an option be to bring them into the National Social Security health care scheme albeit with higher rates, another member of the group asked if it were possible for the Thai government to come to some agreement with foreign countries so that nationals could use their Medicare insurance here.

The Minister said she would look into this and also check with insurance agencies about possible solutions for elderly expats.

Neal Robinson brought up the issue of the annual renewal of the visa, suggesting that perhaps after five years of one year extensions retirees be eligible for a long-term visa, from 5-10 years with a report every year. Minister Kobkarn said that they are working on the length of stay and that the government realizes this is an issue. She also addressed the issue of volunteerism that Nancy Lindley had brought up, saying “You are the brain bank of the country. We need this kind of synergy, it will definitely help Thailand and the region and it is something we are working on. It may be in the long-term but we recognize that it is there.”

Martin Venzky-Stalling urged that the government consider the long-term implications and establish goals for long-stay development, noting that most expats consider themselves part of the community, not tourists and they want to be included in the community.

Several members of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce stood up and spoke up stating that these changes were absolutely necessary were Chiang Mai and Thailand to see a growth in long-stayers. Noting that this had been discussed many times but nothing had ever been accomplished. The Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce has been pushing the government for a five year long-stay visa for over 6 years.
 

brake034

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"She also asked that Chiang Mai Immigration fall in line with other offices in enforcing rules, noting the implementation of the requirement of a TM30 form by people applying for extensions noting that some people have been forced to move because their landlord cannot or will not supply the needed form. Other provinces do not require this form."
Factual "mistake"......
Seems Chiang Mai was one of the last provinces to enforce the TM30, in Chiang Rai it is enforced for over a year.
 

blackwolf

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"She also asked that Chiang Mai Immigration fall in line with other offices in enforcing rules, noting the implementation of the requirement of a TM30 form by people applying for extensions noting that some people have been forced to move because their landlord cannot or will not supply the needed form. Other provinces do not require this form."
Factual "mistake"......
Seems Chiang Mai was one of the last provinces to enforce the TM30, in Chiang Rai it is enforced for over a year.

TM30 = accommodation registration right? If so, Bangkok doesn't ask for this because I have never been asked for it ever. Writing down your address as part of your visa extension has always been enough, up until now.
 

brake034

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A lot of Dutch expats live in the Isarn; Khorat, Nongkhai etc. They have done the TM30 report for years, first time I heard about it was in 2009.
Since 2015 Chiang Rai is enforcing it.
 
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