Thailand is becoming an increasingly popular location for expats to retire. This country boasts some absolutely sublime places of natural beauty, long stretches of golden beach and hidden bays, a myriad of fantastic cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and of course, a reasonable cost of living and cheap accommodation prices. Many people who are looking to retire and enjoy a peaceful life in an exotic destination see Thailand as a prime location.
Historically, obtaining a visa and the whole process surrounding ex-pats moving to Thailand was confusing and could take a great deal of time. Furthermore, long-stay visas were limited to one year only (5 years in some cases) to stay in the country long-term for your retirement, an individual would have to re-apply for a visa on an annual basis – this is known to cause some stress for retirees. To ease these issues and to promote Thailand as a place for expats to retire, the Thai government has finally approved the issue of a 10-year visa for senior tourists – this has been a long time coming, as we first reported on the changes to the Thailand Retirement Visa structure last year. It will be interesting to see exactly what this means for the country and its economy.
New Thailand Retirement Visa
The new 10 year Thailand retirement visa aims to promote senior tourism and improve the process for retiring in Thailand for expats. As the number of seniors seeking to enter the country and retire in Thailand increases, this visa should allow a smoother process and enable individuals to do so in a more controlled manner with greater long-term viability. In essence, this visa extends the standard long-stay visa from a period of 1 year (5 years in some cases) to 10 years. Some important details regarding the visa are listed below:
This visa is not available freely to anyone and you must meet certain criteria in order to apply for a 10-year retirement visa. The required criteria can be seen below:
– Set cost of 10,000 Thai Baht (Approx $300.00 USD)
– Minimum age of 50
– Must apply for the visa from the Thai consulate in their country of residence
– Must have a bank balance of 3 million THB (Approx $90,000.00 USD)
– Must submit valid medical insurance
– Must report to the immigration Bureau once every 90 days
– Children can accompany the visa holder but conditions apply
Who is this visa aimed at?
– This visa is extended to residents of 14 countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.
How will the introduction of this Visa affect Thailand and its economy?
Now that you understand exactly what the visa is and the terms, on which it can be obtained, it is important to look at how this visa could affect the Thai economy. The Thai government have openly stated that they have approved this visa to promote wellness tourism and to try and boost the country’s economy, in particular in the property market. The following are some of the main benefits that the introduction of this visa could promote:
A boost for the real estate market/industry
Primarily, this visa should provide a boost for the property market. As more retirees enter the country, there will be an increased need for property developments such as condos, villas and apartments. Most people retiring in Thailand will have funds to buy property and many will have saved up a large amount to afford custom made properties built from scratch. This can only mean positive things for property developers, land owners and local businesses that would be involved in constructing these retirement developments and accommodation.
A boost for health tourism and local establishments
An influx of foreign nationals can only mean an increase in trade for local businesses and an increase in the use of local facilities such as hospitals and recreational amenities. The government aims to promote health tourism and to entice retirees to Thailand who wishes to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and a pace of life. Furthermore, provinces such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Chon Buri that do not have the economic strength that Bangkok does should prosper greatly.
An increase in revenue for the Thai economy
This 10-year visa should effectively provide a boost for the economy of Thailand – by how much, only time will tell. Regardless of actual figures and percentages, there is a plethora of different companies, organisations and local businesses that stand to benefit from the increase of expat migration to the country. Local shops, restaurants and bars should see an increase in custom. Local parks, amenities, and public transport should also receive a boost. This could prove hugely beneficial for local communities and smaller towns that may otherwise struggle.
An increase in diversity and multiculturalism
Although this may not be a primary reason for approving the visa, it is undoubtedly bound to happen and can only mean positive things for the progression and development of Thailand. As more expat retirees settle in Thailand, the diversity of the ethnic population of many towns will increase. This, in turn, should promote multiculturalism and eventually bring a new wave of ideas and thinking to the country.
As you can see, the realization of the 10-year visa is a positive move for the Thai government and this simple addition to the range of visas should have far-reaching implications for the economy and population of Thailand. Many different areas of the country’s economy should benefit including the property market, public amenities and local communities.
What do you think to the new Thailand ten year retirement visa?
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