Thailand's new visa troubles
Now unless you're an expat living in Thailand or a regular business traveler to that country perhaps you've probably never heard of the TM thirty visa tobacco tobacco in recent months though it's been causing outrage among the Southeast Asian nations one million strong expert community it stems from a forty year old law that has never have been enforced until now with Thai chilies determined to crack down on international criminals hiding out in the country South East Asia correspondent Catherine. This has the story I finally landed my dream job. I was now a foreign correspondent but little did I know just how long it would take to get my visa or all that I was flying into the middle of visa crackdown controversy facing foreigners the topic of conversation tonight as you can see is Thailand's controversial immigration Russian laws and the consequences will come back to that but first we need to go through a little history it all comes down to a low written almost forty a US ago after the fall of the Kamei Rouge regime in Cambodia in nineteen seventy nine. There was a major influx of refugees across the border. People people were also coming in via boat from Vietnam so as a security measure tile authorities put reporting requirements in place to monitor the movement amount of foreigners but as with much in Southeast Asia it was never publicly enforced until now under the system all non immigrant visa holders that is any expat living in the country is now required along with their landlord to report win they leave their home province and upon their overturn within twenty four hours every single time so for example if you live in Bangkok and traveled to poo kit for the Kent you're required to report and of course the system used to enforce it doesn't work so smoothly as you can imagine being a foreign foreign correspondent. I travel a lot for this job like many other experts so Wanda standardly it's causing furor among the Expat community immunity and has become such a hot topic of discussion over drinks at Thailand's foreign correspondent club. The board invited immigration officials to explain blind why it was needed. Dominic folder chaired the discussion. This law is from forty years ago from the Cold War period and the bureaucracy that is being applied to administer it is from the same era. How can you justify this. They they onerous for seizure this procedure that causes a lot of difficulty an inconvenience to people. I can absolutely understand that skip your heart Tom doing that but understand us. You're going to know that you start that hot. We've tried to make things easy. System is erratic non-functioning so basically a system has been launched which people like this are expected to deal with the does not work is is that a good way of doing things is about telling your wife that you're already at home. Trust me is went back and forward like these four hours with the immigration officials giving away little to satisfy the frustrations expressed by the crowd and insisting the changes are needed to catch foreign criminals both just going back to this idea of why why this suddenly became because nobody has noticed a particular deterioration and in the security situation in Thailand. It's not apparent on the outside surface things. It's been changing in the country Thailand in all over the world. The the criminal amid is getting stronger. The requirements are so onerous landlords some apartment complexes are erecting signs saying no oy foreigners while others jokingly say the new tourism slogan in Thailand is travel less. A group of experts have launched a petition against it and perhaps even more concerning is the impact on investment with some investors weighing up whether it's just too hard to do business here. Luckily Luckily I have a local office manager. Who's able to help me out with the paperwork but this was just one of the many steps required of me as I madly sought about getting Ching my visa. We started the process even before left Australia bought. It still took three months to gain approval. When I got an interview with the immigration in department fairly soon after my arrival I thought it would sail through but no it dragged on and on and because of the time it took I had to travel in and out of the country a few times to renew my tourist visa and then my husband and I were required to travel to the Thai Embassy in another country to register for a journalist visa. We thought we could go in and out in one day but as we eagerly lined up in a long line of other expensive tie embassy input on pen. We were told it would take three days to process. That's only gave us a three-month visa from there. We had to apply to extend it for for a year. I had started to wonder if I can get my visa before my year-long posting was over then a week later back in Bangkok and after hours of waiting in the immigration office we had good news. We finally gained approval a few days later. I found out I was being posted to our Washington Washington bureau so the process dance all over again. Let's hope this time it doesn't take quite so long. Catherine this with final report out of Bangkok.