Members of Chiang Mai Expats Club joined resident foreigners from Japan, Korea and China along with CM tourism authority, Chamber of Commerce and Consular Corps to discuss their concerns about “Long Stay Challenges” with the Minister of Tourism and government officials during a seminar on Friday, 21st October at the Empress Hotel.

Some of the quests
Some of the quests
Concerns about immigration policies, enforcement practices and service levels at the Chiang Mai Immigration office were at the top of the list of “challenges” presented by expats from various countries, in several languages. Other issues such as Health Insurance, traffic safety, infrastructure and labor laws for volunteering were also discussed.

The seminar also covered overall visa policies and the need for a long-stay visa for retirees. However, the speakers in general focused on health, medical and wellness tourism but the Minister was there to hear expats concerns. Minister of Tourism and Sports Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul showed great interest in the issues that Chiang Mai expats raised in an open forum that she chaired. She took particular note of the service issues Expats have at Immigration.

She returned to Chiang Mai Saturday 29th for another event and took the opportunity to convene another brief meeting with some Hon Cons, select CM expats as well Pol. Col. Rutjapong Saravanagkool, Head of Chiang Mai Immigration to hash out/coordinate some resolution of these Immigration issues in person.


Immigration indicated that clients could now arrive at any time of day for service and there was no need for 4 am queue line ups for service. The challenges of and the need for effective and efficient on-line systems to ease mandatory reporting and appointment bookings was discussed and the Minister agreed to follow up with the Immigration Ministry about the challenges.

As a result of this meeting CEC will be meeting with Pol. Snr. Sgt Tawatchai “Nicky” Janngoern this week to discuss implementation of the new Priority Lane for elderly and disabled people as well as how individuals can report their TM30 online.

It is hoped a better collaborative working relationship may be formed with Immigration and that CM service levels will be improving?