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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsIs Thai Immigration "Nudging" Foreign Retirees to Elite Visas?

Is Thai Immigration "Nudging" Foreign Retirees to Elite Visas?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thailand Elite Visas as well as Thai Retirement Visas.

I have had questions from various sectors if you will come to me, folks I know personally as well as in a professional capacity. People have asked me "do you think they are trying to nudge people to the Elite Visa?"  and my answer to that is "No, not strictly speaking. I don't think that that is like a policy." I do see where people get that because for example with recent changes to the policies associated with Thai retirement status, for example the creation of the requirement that medical insurance be obtained in order to maintain retirement status in the Kingdom, as well as rules with respect to financial obligations associated with maintaining a certain bank balance or certain income requirements. Then at the same time, there seems to be an increasing popularity of the Elite Visa. Do I think one has to do with the other? Yes, but as I have said in certain other videos, correlation is not necessarily causation. I don't think there is an underlying policy to "nudge" retirees to Elite status but I do think that first of all I don't think Immigration has any problem with that. If retirees want to move over to Elite status that is fine with them. 

Moreover, I also think that the Thai retirement scheme has tightened up a lot. 2019 was a major year with respect to policy surrounding the Retirement Visa. We saw things like the Income Affidavit being phased out. A much more stringent scrutiny associated with financial evidence associated with Retirement Visa and finally the promulgation of regulations related to Medical Insurance for Retirement Visas. The Retirement Visa was pretty radically altered compared to years past in 2019. I think this will lead to more people joining the Elite program because I think some folks will just say "well I would just rather front load all my Visa issues with that, rather than have to deal with it on a regular basis and possibly have to deal with the vicissitudes of changing regulatory policies associated with retiree status," but do I ultimately think that Immigration had a policy and they were pushing people toward the Elite program. No I don't really think that that was the case, mostly because Elite is in its own ways private. It interacts with Thai Immigration but it is not part of Thai Immigration if you will. So I don't think that that was the thinking when these Retirement Visa rules were implemented. I think that mostly the thinking was issues associated with using different types of documentation, proving up an actual ability to support oneself in Thailand and maintain medical coverage while living in the Kingdom.