Gaybutton wrote:As for the changes involving only farang, do you know that or are you assuming that? If you know that, how do you know it? Neither I nor anyone else I know has heard that the changes apply only to farang.
Based on what you were told, it sounds as if other means of proving income will be possible, but entirely arbitrary. If they do that it will help people, but in my opinion that simply isn't good enough. You could be approved this year, but rejected the next. Would you want to live with that possibility hanging over your head? I wouldn't. I wouldn't want to take that chance. So I, for one, would still feel compelled to keep 800,000 baht sitting in the bank.
Unless they come out with a specific set of rules and procedures to follow, you would still be at risk if you don't have the 800,000 baht.
The immigration officer I spoke with this week told me that the changes were first directed at the Brits...then expanded to include Americans and recently the Australians and could expand to effect other European residents as well before the changes are fully implemented. She made no mention of the Asian residents. I have no idea if what she was informing me will in fact be the case after the dust settles. I doubt if they even know at this juncture.
For clarification: Any person coming a country where the residents are primarily white, including black people who are residents of the same country, are considered "farang" in Thai culture. If they were referring to visitors or residents coming from China or Cambodia for instance they are simply referred to them as Chinese or Cambodians. The visa approval changes we are discussing are aimed solely at farang residents.
There are reportedly 40,000 Americans residing legally in Thailand - not 20,000 as I mentioned in error before. Based on these numbers the Thais were sitting back and watching the embassy's collecting 64 million baht per year just on financial verification letters (40,000 X 1,600 THB per letter). I believe they have now found a way to route this money into their own coffers. Just my opinion of course and not fact. If you toss in the 84,000 Brits this number increases to 198 million THB per year (40,000 plus 84,000 X 1,600 THB per letter).
If you estimate that the average American or British resident holding a one year retirement visa has an average of 300,000 THB in his/hers Thai bank account (a conservative estimate) who then have to increase this amount to 800,000 THB the Thai banking system will then be positioned to experience an increase of 62 billion THB
(40,000 plus 84,000 X 500,000 THB).
I also believe that the motivation of the Thais is aimed at getting rid of the "undesirable" farang residents many of whom are here illegally as they commonly work illegally...sometimes become homeless... get involved in many of the criminal activities they are trying to combat...fill the beds in the State hospitals with no money to pay for their medial treatment, etc., etc., etc. Thailand launched it's highly publicized "[i]Good Guy In - Bad Guy Out[/i]
" Campaign 3 years due to these concerns. When the immigration officer made the statement to me that "Good People will be OK - but Bad People will Not
" I interpreted this along the same lines.
GB...like you, I don't like risk and maintain enough funds in my Thai bank account to cover me regardless of what changes are made, but, unfortunately, many of my farang friends who have lived here for years are not in the same boat and are very concerned as one would expect. Personally, and again, just my own opinion, I don't think anyone who is here legally, who provided truthful statements and/or docuemts supporting their monthly income form their home countries will have anything to worry about other than paying an extra fee every year when visa renewal is due. For those who provided false information and/or documentation regarding their income during the visa application process I would be extremely concerned. Not only will they not be able to get a visa - they won't be able to leave the country without facing a huge fine and/or jail time. Another concern would be a possible violation of a U.S. federal law if perjury was involved on a U.S. Embassy signed and witnessed document. These people made their own bed - they can sleep in it.
All-in-all the changes we are talking about are just one small piece of the changing demographics in Thailand. We can see these changes with our own eyes with no need to scour reports showing data and statistics. Thailand is in the process of changing its brand image from sex capitol of the world to a friendly family oriented tourist destination. Finding ways to get rid of foreign mafia's, chronic alcoholics and hobo's from Detroit is just part of the process.