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What's Going on with Thai Retirement Visa Insurance?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are yet again discussing Thai Retirement Visa Insurance

There has been some information sort of floating around out there in the ether we call the internet and there seems to possibly be some developments forthcoming here rather quickly.  I will go ahead and first of all note, there was a recent article in the Phuket News, that is thephuketnews.com. It was titled: Health Check: Phuket Immigration Confirms Mandatory Health Insurance for OA Retirement Visas Not Enforced. Quoting directly: "Foreigners applying for an extension stay under a Non-immigrant OA Visa, nicknamed the Retirement Visa, still do not yet have to provide proof of mandatory health insurance coverage as warned to be introduced "imminently" by senior officials in Bangkok months ago." This was published Saturday 3rd of August. 

This is interesting. We have been thinking about this a lot here at the office because frankly we did a lot of videos on this topic some months ago and then it sort of all just went quiet. After a senior health department official was quoted as saying that regulations were being promulgated, we didn't really see anything so it kind of was left hanging. There are many out there speculating that perhaps it was a dead letter; they weren't going to follow through and I have to admit that even I was wondering what exactly what was going on with respect to this initiative.

But recently in Thai Visa that is thaivisa.com, the following article was published, the title of which is: Details of Mandatory Health Insurance for non-im, O, A Visas to be Announced Next Week. This was apparently put out on the 18th of August. We are actually making this video on the 22nd of August. That date is notable here in a moment. Quoting directly: "An official announcement regarding the details of the proposed mandatory health insurance requirement for Non-immigrant OA Visas is due to be made next week. On Friday a senior executive from one of the insurance companies involved in the scheme told Thai Visa that the Office of Insurance Commission, the Ministry of Public Health, the Foreign Ministry and the Immigration Bureau will announce the insurance requirements for non-immigrant O A Visas on 22nd of August." We have yet to hear it. Quoting further: "As of today, the mandatory health insurance requirement has only been proposed for Non-immigrant OA Visas and not for other Visa types or extensions of stay." 

So the thing to take away from this video is, we are still waiting. I think that we will be seeing regulations come down imminently on this, if not within hours or moments of making this video. We really are not quite certain exactly when this is going to happen. Something else that was notable in this article. They make a point of noting that it is for O A Visas, not for other Visa types or extensions of stay. I have seen this theory brought out and they are not exactly pushing it in this article, but I have seen it noted that there are some who argue that O Visas in-country are not OA Visas. Well that is kind of a semantic point. The O category is a “catch-all” category that reflects a certain amount of latitude created by the legislation drafters with respect to the Immigration Act back in the 70s wherein they allowed those folks down at Immigration, Immigration Officers, to draft regulations under this O category, this “catch-all” category, to provide visas to certain foreigners under other circumstances. I do not think it is particularly prudent nor logically warranted to presume that we are only going to see Retirement Insurance required on those who have had OA Visas issued abroad or are seeking extensions of those visas here in-country. There is this sort of argument that there is an O visa extension based on retirement issued here in the Kingdom that is sort of substantively different than an OA Visa issued abroad. I don't think it is particularly warranted to presume that this Retirement Visa Insurance scheme is only going to apply specifically to this one specific subset, OA Visas issued abroad or extended in-country. I think this is going to impact everyone that is using an O visa in extension status or abroad who is seeking retirement status here in the Kingdom. I think it is going to pertain to them as well.

So the thing to take away from this video is we are waiting for the these rules to come down imminently and we will do an update on this channel as soon as possible and as soon as rules are promulgated and we have an opportunity to analyze them and provide some decent feedback to you folks here on this channel.