Return To / From Farangland – Part 8
Another Brick in the Wall …
My retirement visa is up on October 14th so I decided to head off to the Samut Prakan Immigration Office to renew it early, just in case something went wrong, the pessimist that I am.
I had already made the trip 2 weeks earlier to the Canadian Embassy to secure my income affidavit stating that I made more money per month than the Thai officers that would be perusing my application. The Canadian Embassy still issues these affidavits because, unlike the Brits, Americans, and Aussies, they actually checked to see if you actually had the stated income. I heard that the other embassies were afraid of law suits (I guess by some Thai) if some farang went nuts in Thailand and was here on some flaky affidavit. Regardless, 3 embassies out and 1 embassy in meant that the decision making Immigration Thais now had a problem! Do we accept affidavits from some countries when some countries do not supply them.
Now I think many Thais would find that situation confusing, so let’s just not accept any income affidavits! Personally, I blame the other 3 embassies for being too lazy to ask for proof of income, such as IRS (CDN equivalent of CRA) statements, bank statements, dividend statements, or food stamps, pogey statements, whatever!
Now, by now, you know my pessimistic attitude about immigration visits was sound. I was processed and then called to the desk by the head poopah, who could not speak English, but I had planned for that and my wife was called and he spoke with her, very seriously for about 3 minutes. My wife then translated and stated that to have my retirement visa approved next year, the embassy affidavit would not be accepted and I would have to show a year’s worth of monthly deposits into my Thai bank account from a source outside the country. BTW, trying to get a Thai bank account is another exercise in frustration.
When I first came to Thailand 10 years ago a Canadian dollar was trading at 30 baht. Today, a CDN $ is trading at 23 baht. 65,000 baht is worth $2,826 CDN. Of course, one must remember that amount is after tax dollars, so, dependent on your tax bracket you are looking at earning about $3,700 a month or $44,400 in annual income to retire in the LOS. Does not look like such a bargain for anyone getting by on a retirement income of $50,000 CDN.
Of course all this took 4 hours at the Samut Prakan office, not counting the 45 minutes there and the 45 minutes back. On the way back, I had time to reflect on how this would impact me.
I spend 25,000 baht for my apartment, 10,000 for the relatives of my wife, 10,000 for food, and about another 20,000 baht a month for fun, beer, movies, transportation, etc. Therefore, the financial impact is kind of a wash for me, but your mileage may differ.
However, it affects how I spend the money. I do not transfer 65,000 baht every month into my Thai bank. I try to use my World Elite MasterCard as much as possible. The reason why, is that I get 4% cash back and I do not get charged the foreign exchange fee, just the going conversion rate. I will no longer be able to do that. I suppose I could transfer it in, take it out, and send some back, and repeat, but that is just almost as stupid as the Thai immigration rules.
I can’t help but think that this is just another brick in the wall for many farangs in Thailand to climb over. This will be my last retirement visa and from here on in, I will be a 3-month visitor to Thailand. Their loss, not mine, as I do like Cambodia and I have yet to visit the Philippines.
As many before me have stated … the best days are gone … Thailand is no longer a bargain. I can live quite nicely in Farangland on $2,826 CDN a month, enjoy driving, breathe clean air, and live without TM30s, TM7s, 90-day reporting or re-entry permits.
If only farang women would learn to smile …
The author of this article cannot be contacted.