An nice overall summary of the new visa rules and where they fit into the big picture for Thailand, from Asian Sentinel.
Just how many people live and work here using 30-day stamps is hard to say, but with at least a dozen agencies now operating daily visa run tours, plus those taking public or casino buses, 30,000-50,000 seems a reasonable figure. Most of these are not dead beats. They likely spend at least a $1,000 per month, many considerably more, on rent, meals, laundry, taxis, drinks, shopping or golf. Pull up a seat in a beer bar in Pattaya or Bangkok and pry a foreign resident’s attention from his drink and a bar girl and there’s a good chance he’s here indefinitely on a tourist visa, probably working or whiling away his retirement looking for love. And that costs money.
The trouble with this large and growing foreign community is that it is undocumented. Tax collectors fret about tax evasion. Police are dealing with more crime by foreigners, especially drug trafficking, sex work, financial scams, and human trafficking. Cases have also come to light of travel agents couriering passports to the border for immigration stamps while the owners stay at home. Some agents simply cut even that expense, using fake stamps to validate passports in their offices.