The Immigration Department’s proposal to scrap the TM.6 immigration form for Thai nationals will do nothing to alleviate the long delays faced by the majority of incoming passengers – foreign tourists and businesspeople.
Thais and visitors from other Southeast Asian countries already have their own designated immigration queues at both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
I often travel with Thai friends, and on return they join their relatively short queue while I get at the back of a queue that sometimes stretches outside the Immigration area and down the airport concourse.
My friends inevitably are long cleared through Immigration and are waiting patiently for me at the baggage carousels when I eventually make it through. The only good thing about this is that they have collected by baggage for me.
From my observations, the short-term fix is to man more of the Immigration desks. I have often been in a queue that takes more than an hour and less than half the desks are manned.
It is entirely predictable on a day-to-day basis to know when Immigration is going to peak and staff the desks accordingly.
It would also help to have more staff working the queues to make sure people have correctly completed their TM.6, and not clog up the entire works when they get to the desk and have to rewrite or complete their forms.
But, of course, the long-term solution is to go electronic, and there is no end of precedents around the world for Thailand to study and copy.