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Phuket Opinion: Fear and loathing in paradise

PHUKET: The news of the “new” immigration requirements for foreigners staying in the country on retirement visas – technically “permits-to-stay” – breaking late last month sent shivers throughout the expat community across the country.

opinionimmigration
By The Phuket News

Sunday 17 February 2019, 09:00AM


Phuket Immigration is making the effort to get the right information out in English. Photo: Phuket Immigration

Phuket Immigration is making the effort to get the right information out in English. Photo: Phuket Immigration

However, as pointed out in our page 1 story this week (see here), that wave of fear was mostly over misconceptions of what has actually changed. The short answer is “nothing, except the B400,000 minimum balance required in a Thai bank account throughout the year.”

If that is what hangs in the balance for foreign retirees to stay in Thailand, they really should be considering their options.

Keep in mind that this “new” minimum is for a segment of the population for which healthcare is a must, and that the B800,000 total annual monies in hand requirement hasn’t changed. Some people may need to reorganise how they receive their monies from abroad, but that’s about it.

Spreading the fear were some online reports that did not include the “magic combo” of B400,000 held in a Thai bank plus monies received totalling at least B800,000 in the year, as well as some online polls that even reported the perceptions of people not even affected by the retirement rules saying that they expected many expat retirees in Thailand to be affected by the rule “change”.

Answers and clarity we need. Fear we can do without.

For that we praise Col Acheep and Phuket Immigration for their openness and willingness to clarify and explain the best that they understand of the “new” rules.

Also praise to Phuket Immigration for appreciating that although this is Thailand and that quite rightly all rules, laws and regulations are written in Thai, the correct explanation of any such changes must come in English for the international community to understand.

Many public offices throughout the country can learn a great deal from this attitude.

What we would call for is that any foreigners facing the reality of leaving the country because of this new requirement be given a respectful period of time to make the necessary arrangements to leave their new home.

After all, it was Thailand who invited them to come and enjoy their golden years in the Kingdom. It would be a deep disappointment if ample notice – and a thank you – were not forthcoming for those who had faith in enjoying their retirement here.

 

 

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peter rawai | 18 February 2019 - 08:21:38

Should be no problem for people who want to retire in Thailand, they just have to prove (not claim) they have the money to do so, including the money to pay their hospital bill if they get one and are not able to get medical insurance, its been 800K baht for the 12 years i have lived here and 400K baht would not last long in a private hospital

fedepar | 18 February 2019 - 07:30:21

And if a person, for a sanitary emergency or for an accident needs to use part of the 400,000 baht, what will happen ?
Will he be expelled immediately from Thailand ?

tamvong | 17 February 2019 - 13:16:57

Actually you haven't helped the situation by your incorrect reporting regarding the grandfathering issue. It is from 1998 not 2008 as you stated in your original article.

GerryT81 | 17 February 2019 - 11:43:52

"It was Thailand who invited them to come" An invitation? When? And if there was an invitation it wasn't meant for a group of serial complainer or some racists. Anyone from that group which such an attitude who has to leave now did not earn any period of time to make necessary arrangements.No" thank you"too.

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