Having lived here for the past 5 years, I can only speak of my experience on the topic.

That being said, a lot of changes in the policy requirements (some quite sensible) in order to obtain a retirement visa. In the past, as a US, UK, AUS citizen, one could go to their local embassy in Bangkok and obtain a certified letter of income, to show the minimum required income (roughly $2,000 USD per month) to secure a 1-year Retirement Visa. That all changed Jan 1, 2019, when all three of the aforementioned countries decided to end the “income verification” letters. As a result, retirees from these countries must comply with an old law requiring 800K THB (approx $26K USD) to be held in a Thai bank account for a period of 5 months, of which can then be spent down to 50% of that balance (or 400K THB). For most retirees that rely on social security or retirement annuities, this is difficult to provide. I myself show consistent transfers to my Thai bank account through my military disability, however, Immigration will not accept (even a year’s worth) bank statements of consistent transfers, which clearly meet the monthly income requirement.

Another issue exacerbating retirees (especially those who have lived here for decades) is the overtly stringent TM30 alien residence tracking program. Ths (again old) piece of legislation requires the lessee or landlord to file a document of alien residency every time they move around Thailand or leave and return to the country, within 24 hours. As a result, landlords are now refusing foreign renters, as the burden falls on them to file, otherwise, penalties to the landlord will result

Both of these hindrances to a smooth process and convenience have resulted in many ex-pats from those countries to leave and relocate to other countries. In my observation, this is a considerable misstep in policy that is only perpetuating the decline in the Thai economy.

Having experience in the real estate market here in Thailand, it is evident the economy is in serious trouble and there is little positive outlook for change in the near future. As Thailand continues to “shoot for the future” and ignore the current base of supports, the decline will only continue.

I am also seeking other countries to move my wife and I (who is Thai). Even being married to a Thai local, with plenty of income, brings a harassing process of verification for a marriage visa each year.

That all being said… when markets are difficult, savvy investors seek opportunity. Perhaps there is a changing of the guard with regard to Thailand’s ex-pat base. We are seeing a significant increase in Chinese buyers in the real estate market.

Is Thailand Losing Appeal for Retirement?

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