Thailand Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce supports expat complaints over TM30 reporting

Published:  2 Sep at 6 PM
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As the TM30 issue continues to raise ire amongst long-term expats in business or on retirement, the Bangkok-based Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce has weighed in with proposals to amend the situation.

Following the Thailand-wide expatriate calls for changes or even the dumping of the unpopular law, chair of the JFCCT Stanley Kang told reporters the umbrella body has suggested easing the impact on expats of the newly-resurrected law before it begins to affect foreign businesses in the Kingdom. Mr.Kang also revealed the government-instigated Guillotine Unit responsible for simplifying and streamlining admin procedures has actually recommended the controversial law be scrapped altogether.

Kang pointed out that foreigners arriving for the wrong reasons are those least likely to obey the law as regards TM30 reporting, as they’ll be fully aware they can easily be traced as a result. However, according to a Thai police spokesperson, the law is essential as it protects Thailand from ‘the increasing number of foreigners arriving with criminal intent or even plans for a terrorist attack’, a belief which is largely responsible for expats’ anger. On the other hand, the JFCCT is concerned about the effect on Thailand’s supposedly business-friendly image and also supports an overhaul of immigration requirements for all expatriates, including expats on reassignment, those with work permits, retired expats and long-term students.

The initial introduction of TM30 placed the onus of reporting on the landlords of accommodation let to foreigners, but many landlords refused to comply and passed the responsibility on to their tenants, thus forcing them to pay fines of between 800 and 2,000 baht if they don’t or can’t report. As a result, mutterings about landlord tax evasion were heard in several favourite expat hubs. National and international media outlets have had a field day with the story since an expat-aimed online petition was started in July. The coverage provided even more negative publicity for the country as a business and retiree hub at a time when tourism is shrinking and many long-stay expats have either left or are planning to leave for friendlier shores.
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