By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Thailand immigration holidays upcoming, insurance requirements alert

By Barry Kenyon

July 25, 2022

Immigration bureaux nationwide will be closed on Thursday July 28 and Friday July 29 for the public holidays of His Majesty the King’s birthday. Friday is an extension of the celebration to create a long weekend via government policy to boost domestic tourism during the Covid crisis. Monday July 25 is the last publicized date for application of the so-called 60 days Covid extensions of stay, technically created for foreigners unable to return home, Whether a further extension of the application deadline will be given awaits a formal notice from immigration command. Previous announcements have often been late.

September 1 is an important date for upcoming immigration news. All those applying for the O/A retirement visa at Thai embassies – or annually extending at Thai immigration – will need general health insurance of at least US$100,000, or over 3 million baht. Most Thai embassies have already implemented the rule, but Thai immigration offices are still using the previous formula of 400,000 baht (inpatient) and 40,000 (outpatient). In anticipation, many O/A visa holders have already left the country without a re-entry permit and have used a 30 days visa exempt or a 60 days tourist visa to convert to an O retirement track which is currently exempt from insurance demands at Thai immigration.

10 year LTR or long term resident visas also formally begin on September 1 with the registration fee reduced from 100,000 baht to 50,000 baht. They offer to super-rich executives, professionals, retirees and global travellers multiple-entry permits with perks such as digital work permits, exemption from 90 days reporting, tax incentives and possibly the right to buy a freehold property under strict conditions. The pre-approval financial requirements vary from category to category but all demand proof of assets worth millions of baht and a determination to invest heavily in Thailand.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ert-404734

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Expats ponder whether to gamble on the Thai baht

By Barry Kenyon

July 27, 2022

With the British pound theoretically worth more than 44 baht and the US dollar sticking at around 37 baht, many expats, vacationers and Bloomberg wonder if they are on a roll. Whether now to move foreign cash to Thailand is the question of the day. The truism is that, in times of international economic distress, world-stage investors flock to the US dollar which represents the world’s biggest economy. The fact that America has its own share of economic malaise and is run by an ageing president who has seen better days won’t affect that stark reality.

The current slide in the Thai baht has many roots. Recession and rampant inflation worries are coupled with concerns about the revival of Covid which has dampened vaccine optimism. International tourism, leaving India aside, is sluggish partly as a result of airlines reducing the availability of flights from popular bases in mainland Europe, Britain and the United States. There are concerns about the slowdown of economic growth in China which is a very significant trading partner with Thailand. Finally, the Bank of Thailand has refused to hike interest rates significantly to curb inflationary pressures because of the presumed negative consequences elsewhere in the economy.

Meanwhile the British pound has its own dilemmas. UK businesses have just posted their slowest growth since February last year accompanied by warnings of higher inflation yet and threats of recession. Polls suggest that British foreign secretary Liz Truss will become the new prime minister in September. Her expensive tax cutting program is looked on with disdain by most international agencies, including the International Monetary Fund, as likely to push up inflation even faster. But the key to 10 Downing Street lies in the hands of 190,000 mostly-affluent Conservative party members who probably made up their minds months ago.

Currency predictions are always made on swampy ground. It was widely assumed that Brexit would doom the British currency which simply hasn’t happened. Another myth is that military coups in Thailand bring about the decline of the baht which is certainly untrue: putsches are popular amongst financiers as they tend to quell arguments. At any rate in the short term. If the Russo-Ukraine war ended, for whatever reason, or if NATO troops got involved directly in the fighting, all bets would be off. If the latest Covid outbreaks worldwide led to another economic collapse … well, you know!

Trading Economics, using a global economic model, is sort-of indicating that the Thai baht will rise by less than one percent by September against major currencies and will remain largely static next year. Barclays and Bloomberg, who hold major stakes in the currency world, emphasize that what we don’t know internationally outweighs what we do know. So it is guesswork after all. Meanwhile Thailand could well announce soon the lawful establishment of casino complexes. Guesswork comes into its own.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... aht-404902

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Barry Kenyon wrote......
Barry Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:12 pm
With the British pound theoretically worth more than 44 baht
It's not theoretically worth more than 44 baht, it's ACTUALLY worth more than 44 baht. I checked Transferwise rates.

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:12 pm
Whether now to move foreign cash to Thailand is the question of the day.
Anyone who has sufficient competence in predicting foreign exchange markets ought to have already made more money than they ever need to live in Pattaya. It's not easy.


Barry Kenyon wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:12 pm
The current slide in the Thai baht has many roots.
Last time I looked, the Thai baht had strengthened against a basket of currencies. The dollar just happens to have strengthened even more. But we've done that conversation.

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Thailand’s 10 year visa and property proposals “won’t entice many”

By Barry Kenyon

July 29, 2022

It is unlikely that the Thai government’s proposals to encourage one million super-rich foreigners to seek Long Term Residency (LTR) will hit the bullseye. That’s according to investing gurus such as Global Partners who say that the much-proclaimed right to own freehold property is restricted and unclear. International Properties point out that the publicized benefits fall well short of offering citizenship which some competitor countries do offer under their CBI (Citizenship by Donation) programs.

Thailand’s interior ministry is keen to resurrect the measure (buried and exhumed several times in the past) to allow wealthy foreigners to own one rai (0.16 hectares) for residence if they invest at least 40 million baht. The idea is backed by the Federation of Thai Industries and others who see the measure as kickstarting the sluggish economy by external investment. But critics stress that the measure will be unpopular with the Thai electorate as well as being too restrictive for buyers. For example, if a foreigner purchases a freehold property he or she can later sell only to a Thai national.

Prospective property buyers will need to be part of the Long Term Visa program, whose other perks are limited to temporary tax incentives, freedom from reporting to immigration every 90 days and a semi-automatic work permit if needed. But Business Insider, on its website, points out that the Elite card already offers a multiple-entry visa for up to 20 years for a one-off lump sum which requires no ongoing investment at all. Moreover, Elite unlike LTR does not require any medical insurance. Elite does not carry an automatic work permit, but recent changes in immigration protocol mean that attending business meetings, working for short periods in Thailand and even some digital nomads appear be to be exempt or ignored categories.

International investment companies seem to be unanimous that the best way to attract the super-rich is to offer them a second passport. Business Insider lists 23 countries where a cash donation or an investment, between US$100,000 and US$3 million, can buy immediate or post entry citizenship. Such a proposal would be laughed out of court if proposed in Thailand where there is enormous sensitivity about foreigners “taking over” the country. None the less, that’s the way to rake in the high-value visitor we hear so much about these days.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... any-405180

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Post by Jun »

Another load of nonsense.
A foreigner could buy freehold property, but only sell to a Thai national ? What would the reason be for excluding foreigners who qualify under the same scheme ?

Then why would they worry about foreigners taking over the country ? I doubt they will attract enough rich people to outnumber the 70 million people who already live in Thailand. As for running the country, they could always have exclusions which prevent foreign born people from taking the top government jobs. I think the US has that for president. The UK has no such restrictions.
Or are they worried that the wealthy foreigners might start up some businesses to compete with CP group and all the rest of them ? The Thai population would benefit from more competition in such areas, but I don't think that's a priority for the establishment.

Again, this looks like just adding another new visa scheme. So rather than extending the scope of existing schemes, Thailand has a long list of visas with illogical differences between them.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Sat Jul 30, 2022 3:37 pm
Thailand has a long list of visas with illogical differences between them.
And an equally long list of people who somehow get themselves into positions of authority and come up with these brilliant ideas in the first place.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Medical insurance is a complex business Mr Ambassador

B yBarry Kenyon

July 30, 2022

On a recent radio interview with Pattaya’s 103 station, British ambassador Mark Gooding pinpointed the lack of medical insurance by Brits as his biggest takeaway from his tour of the city. The point has been hammered home for 20 years by the UK government, yet above half of all international visitors (not just Brits) are uninsured according to surveys. It’s human nature, of course, to think “the worse won’t happen to me” but there are many reasons for the reality that Brits alone ran up unpaid hospital bills of 300 million baht (8 million pounds) annually prior to the pandemic. That’s according to a report in The Nation newspaper which referenced only state hospitals and omitted the private sector which rarely offers treatment anyway without a copper-bottom guarantee.

The first problem is definitional. Mr Gooding advised all visitors to Thailand to buy “travel insurance”, though he is obviously aware that expats or non-tourists likely won’t be covered if they are not based in the home country of departure. Medical Billing Advocates, an international watchdog leader, state that one in seven of all medical insurance claims are denied or rejected. They point out that the confusion between travel insurance, covering some but not all holiday mishaps, and comprehensive medical cover is a common cause of misunderstanding. Several recent cases of sick Brits appealing for crowd-funded donations to get them back to the UK for an emergency operation have been tourists who had not read the small print in policy documentation.

Thai authorities during the pandemic made matters murky by insisting all visitors had medical insurance – it started at US$50,000 but ended up at US$10,000 prior to cancellation – but then stating it could be restricted to Covid only illness. In the ensuing confusion, some international visitors failed to appreciate that a traffic accident was not Covid-related, whilst several companies went bust because of the pressure of coronavirus claims. Whilst there were undoubtedly some good policies out there, the cheapest ones claiming a month’s cover for a few pounds were worthless and designed only to survive the nod-and-a-wink Thailand Pass entry bureaucracy. There were even policies claiming to be comprehensive, but in reality only offering cremation benefit, and even then requiring documentary evidence of being Covid-free on initially entering the country.

Then we come to the expats. Many on one year extensions of stay, retirement or marriage, turn to agents for help because they lack cash in the bank or income to cover 800,000 or 400,000 baht respectively. The cash-strapped are unlikely to have the funds for comprehensive hospitalization and will simply hope for the best. It is known that a main reason for self-repatriation is fear of falling seriously ill in Thailand. But the only visas currently requiring medical insurance are one type of retirement visa and extension of stay (O/A) and the yet-to-start 10 year LTR or Long Term Resident Visa. There many alternative options without any insurance requirement at all, including the O retirement option and the Elite visa. The latter is seen by many observers as the safest bet because it guarantees multiple-entry for between five and 20 years.

Finally, there are the elderly and the super-aged. Insurance companies prefer customers who won’t make a claim so issues like gerontocracy, pre-existing conditions and high cholesterol in a medical report are distancing strategies like no other. So these expats must either sit tight and hope the grim reaper strikes quickly, or pay through the nose, or self-insure. Interestingly, the Thai Cabinet has now authorized self-insurance as a concept, though how it will be implemented by Thai immigration offices, if at all, is not yet crystal clear. Expat residence in Thailand is never much different. Whilst it is platitudinous to go on repeating “get insurance”, it is equally important to recall the legal concept Caveat Emptor. Buyer Beware!

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... dor-405206

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

The Thai authorities were putting fuel on the fire by requiring people to have $10,000 policies. What's the use of $10,000 cover if you have an incident requiring very expensive treatment ?

I always have a proper travel insurance policy.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Go for a holiday in Myanmar? While this violent junta remains in power and continues to terrorize and murder their own people? Would my medical insurance cover me if something happens to me in your country? I wouldn't lift a finger to help bring money to that junta. If I would lift a finger, guess which finger it would be . . .

I don't know about anyone else, but for me it's NO WAY! I would no more want to holiday in your country than I would Afghanistan.
___________________________________________________

Myanmar military still trying to boost international tourism

By Barry Kenyon

August 1, 2022

Battered by the ongoing pandemic and the military coup last year, Myanmar authorities are persevering with attracting foreign visitors with the resumption of the e-visa and the reopening of some localities to inbound travel. Recent returnees told Pattaya Mail that hotel workers are optimistically joining language classes in Russian and Chinese in preparation for the expected surge in numbers expected soon. There is sponsorship of elephants to encourage foreigners to provide cash for animal welfare. Not to mention huge color ads to promote temples and attractions in newly-opened areas such as Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.

It’s a hard sell. Sammy Samuels, managing director of tour agency Shalom Myanmar, admitted that most tourism at present is domestic and spurred by resident expats. Sampan Travel, which organizes tailor-made trips to Myanmar and India, confirmed that the most important consideration was the physical safety of guests. Although some commentators discourage international tourism on the grounds that the cash benefits the military authorities, tour operators stress that the people of Myanmar need financial and moral support now and that that travel is a job-creating industry.

The junta has given no figures for the sale of tourist e-visas in the past three months, but they are likely miniscule. The passes can be used only on air journeys as the land borders with Thailand are currently closed to tourist traffic. The timetable of Yangon international airport reveals several regional flights a day, but the majority are operated by Myanmar Airways International. There are weekly flights to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur and a couple of Chinese cities, but the most routes are to and from Bangkok. Returning passengers have confirmed that most passengers are business people or Myanmar nationals, especially guest workers in Thailand.

Mediawise, Myanmar’s National Defence and Security Council is facing an uphill battle. Most foreign embassies oppose entry to the country on security and moral grounds. The governmental press agency, Global New Light of Myanmar, downplays or ignores unfavorable news. But the recent revival of executions for political activists and the arrest this month of a Japanese film maker, who was caught loitering near an anti-junta rally in a Yangon suburb, provide disincentives enough.

In 2019, 4.3 million international tourists visited Myanmar, much loved for its pagodas and picturesque landscapes. The World Bank reports now that the economy remains fragile as civil strife and inflation add to the troubles facing farmers and businesses. Although most economists agree that the financial crisis there is less tragic than the situation in Sri Lanka, Fitch Solutions expects the economy to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2028. Myanmar desperately needs foreign tourism as 40 percent of the population meander in poverty. But a revival of international vacations any time soon appears to be a forlorn prospect indeed.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ism-405392

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Ruthrieston »

I agree with you entirely Gaybutton, to travel to Myanmar now is to give support to a vile military junta which is torturing and murdering the people. Since China is supplying weapons and supporting the junta there will no doubt be many tourists visiting from China. And no doubt there will be Russian tourists who are not welcome in civilised countries while they continue to commit serious war crimes in Ukraine.

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