Friday, October 16, 2015

Farang retirees will need a fortune

Re: "First shot fired in battle against border corruption", Editorial

 Your editorial omits one other feature of national police chief General Somyot Poompanmuang's criticism of the Immigration service that has already had a major impact: the complex issue of one-year retirement visas. Applicants 50 years or older must now have had at least Bt800,000 in a personal bank account for some months, and without a friend topping up the amount on a short-term basis. Quite a number of farang are going to be caught in that honey trap.

Of course there is an alternative. Applicants can apply for the retirement visa wholly or partly on the basis of having income in their home country, provided that the relevant embassy issues a letter "confirming" the amount. The problem here is that some embassies (the UK's is one) insist that applicants provide proof of income, for example bank statements, while others (such as the US and Australian embassies) have no such rule and rely on self-certification. Over the next few months, don't be too surprised if there is a steep rise in the number of one-way tickets being sold on the Bangkok-UK routes to this new generation of elderly and unwilling economic migrants.