It is not a great time for many retirees living in Thailand as new visa rules are set to be introduced. Rules which I agree with however this doesn’t change the fact I still feel desperately sorry for them.

Thailand has clear rules for being a retiree and one of those was to show 800,000 baht in your bank account upon annual renewal of your retiree visa. Many do not have that money and so have been borrowing it for the renewal. Effectively playing the system. This is all set to stop when rules are introduced whereby you must always be able to show 400,000 baht in your bank (or show that you bring 65,000 baht a month into the country).

I am not trying to be a killjoy here but Thailand have these rules for a reason. As a guest to the country you must be able to show you can pay your way, especially when it comes to cost health care bills.

Mandatory Expat Health Insurance would futher turn the screw

In December 2018, A key Thailand committee met to discuss Thailand’s immigration law and recommended that all foreigners who live here on one-year Non-Immigrant visas should provide evidence that they have adequate health insurance coverage in place before a new or visa extension is granted.

It seems only a matter of time until this rule is introduced and that could spell more disaster for elderly retirees not just unable to pay for health insurance but unable – full stop – to qualify for most insurance.

It is a tough time for many retired expats in Thailand

Any rule introductions will bring pain in the transition

Unfortunately, although I am fully supportive of these new measures, after all a country is perfectly entitled to protect itself from financial burdens – the moves will all come at cost to many.

Where does that leave an 80 year old retiree who is living here in Thailand with his Thai wife of 30 years and couple of kids – Will he be forced to leave them, with no chance he can afford to migrate them back to his homeland? This will not be an isolated case it will be fairly extensive.

In a poll conducted on Thaivisa.com, as many as 50% of retired expats say they will be forced to leave, and I see no reason to see why this would not turn out to be the case. After all, what other choices will they have?

It may not be long before we start seeing the retired expat exodus in Thailand.

 

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