Expats in Thailand have started a petition urging reform of the Article 37 reporting law, which demands any foreigner residing in Thailand who visits another province for more than 24 hours to report to immigration.
Originally, the onus of reporting was on the owners of the property in which a foreigner had been staying and was loosely applied. But that is changing: expats living in Thailand who travel to other places within the country - any other address other than the usual home address - needs to inform immigration once they have returned.
"There are 77 provinces in Thailand. This means if a foreign teacher lives in Buriram and decides to spend a weekend in Surin, on Monday morning, he can't teach. He must report to immigration. Even if he stays with his wife and children, and the landlord (his wife) must also report to immigration with a form TM30," the petition states.
Foreigners and Thai people are being fined for not having filed the form TM30 on returning to their home address following a weekend in another province"
"Up until 2018 the use of form TM30 has never been strictly enforced. But now foreigners and Thai people are being fined for not having filed the form TM30 on returning to their home address following a weekend in another province. This reporting also applies to tourists but it is the duty of the hotels to report these foreigners to immigration," it added.
More Thai nationals have been charged and fined for failing to report foreigners who were staying at their accommodations within 24 hours of checking in.
23 year old Anon Sutsai from Surat Thani was fined 8,000 baht for failing to enter an arrival report multiple times. Four more incidents were also recorded by Immigration in Phetchabun, central Thailand, over the same issue, according to local media.
The law governing the TM30 form was introduced with the Hotel Act of 2005, but has since expanded beyond hotels to cover landlords owning property or apartments that are not classified as hotels.
Authorities believed this was necessary to include the rental of condos and other unlicensed premises rented out to paying guests, such as room-sharing apps like AirBnB. The rules also apply to Thais hosting foreigners.