Thailand Retirement and Digital Nomads – Missed visa opportunities | VIDEO

Two visas Thailand should be promoting right now!

If there were two more groups, more perfect suited for the Thai lifestyle, I don’t know what they are.

Thailand’s immigration laws for long-stays have always been a challenge, retirement is just one of those categories.

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It would seem like a perfect win win situation to invite people to come and live in your country to see out their leisure years and then be able to access the country’s hospital system, both public and private, in their later years. Of course they need to prove some sort of adequate income level and ensure that they would never be a burden on the Thai health system.

Retirees are great spenders, they have the time to travel and the time to enjoy spending any of the money they’ve accumulated over their life. They rent properties from Thai owners and keep their disposable income circulating around the Thai economy.

But slight changes and tweaks in what’s called the retirement visa, or the Geeza visa, over the past few years have made it increasingly difficult for people over 50, the lower minimum age, to enjoy a long-stay in Thailand.

And once they’re here they still have to do their 90 reports and apply to renew their visa. The requirements for money in the bank and proof of income have also reached levels which will preclude a vast swathe of possible retirees who don’t necessarily want to live a life of luxury in Thailand but otherwise have adequate funds for a comfortable lifestyle.

Unlike some of Thailand’s neighbours, there’s certainly no program to actively entice retirees, make it easy to import a car or furnishings or provide some sort of concierge service to make your settling in Thailand easier.

The other group shunned by the Thai immigration system, and a huge missed opportunity, are the digital nomads.

Now we all have our own visions of what a digital nomad is… usually someone camped in a cafe using the free wifi and staying there for hours trading stocks, writing blogs or conducting meetings with other digital nomads.

In reality most digital nomads are relatively high spenders, stay in Thai hotels or rent an apartment, often for a long period of time. As ‘nomads’ they also tend to travel. Whilst many have businesses registered in other country’s there are mechanisms in place for nomads working in Thailand to pay their proportion of taxes and requirements for them to carry the appropriate insurances so they’re not a burden on the Thai health system.

The new Smart Visa, launched in the past few years, and tweaked to make it more widely available, provides a partial solution for some people calling themselves digital nomads bt only a small portion of the demographic.

Why the Thai government makes it difficult for these two groups, retirees and digital nomads, to enter and live long term in Thailand is difficult to understand.

In the past the Thai Government has argued that the battle against transnational crime has been the biggest reason to make it difficult to live long-term in the country without plenty of paperwork weeding out the new’ do wells and wrong doers.

But now, with Covid-19, and the border closures ravaging Amazing Thailand’s tourism strategy, the need for opening the immigration lines for more retirees and digital nomads simply makes good sense, in the short and long term.

Thailand could become South East Asia’s premier… dare I say it… ‘hub’ for both retirees and digital nomads, not only tolerating them but actual promoting Thailand as THE place to both retire or work remotely.

The number of the world’s retiring age population is growing. And Covid-19 has made the remote worker a legitimate form of working for big companies and small.

Thailand has the infrastructure for both… for the retirees with lots of different accommodation varieties and selection of locations, and for the digital nomads, one of the fastest and most reliable internet speeds in the world.

Thailand could tweak a few of its current visa categories to make things much easier for retirees and Digital nomads, or they could just as easily add new visa categories that would set parameters for both.

We all recognise Amazing Thailand and see the potential to replace the lack of tourists with a new flow of visa applicants… the Retirees and Digital Nomads… who can also be contributors to the Amazing Thailand of the future.

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