Immigration denies 'Fast Track' abuse

Immigration denies 'Fast Track' abuse

The Fast Track Lane at Suvarnabhumi airport (photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
The Fast Track Lane at Suvarnabhumi airport (photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Immigration Bureau has dismissed allegations it is exploiting its "Fast Track Lane" cards that enable holders to pass through special lanes at immigration counters.

On April 29, Thai website Manager reported the bureau contracted VFS Global Group to supply the cards to passengers on airlines' business and first classes.

VFS Global Group is an outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages visa and passport issuance-related administrative and non-discretionary tasks for its client governments.

However, the cards were also found to have been sold to ordinary passengers or tour groups who bought them from tour companies, which runs afoul of the bureau's regulations, alleged Manager.

According to the bureau's recently-released statement, people who hold Fast Track Lane cards would be allowed to pass through the immigration's priority lanes under the agency's "Fast Track for premium passenger" project.

The bureau is working with VFS Global Group on the scheme, designed to accommodate passengers and step up its service in line with international standards, it stated.

It indicated that the bureau gains no money from the scheme.

"Fees for cards and other management are the matter between the company [VFS] and airlines," the bureau stated.

If the scheme is found to have been abused in a way that would affect passengers or involves a breach of regulations, the bureau said it could revoke the scheme's contract with the company.

According to the bureau, the duty of screening people entering or leaving the kingdom still falls strictly under its remit.

Meanwhile, biometric scanning machines designed to identify passengers at immigration checkpoints have not yet been installed at several airports despite the fact that the contract for the installation is due to end tomorrow.

These include Ubon Ratchathani airport, where the terminal's renovations have a bearing on the planned installation of the equipment, according to Pol Maj Gen Surapong Chaijan, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 7.


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