Does the ongoing Brexit chaos affect Brit expats in Thailand?

Published:  25 Sep at 6 PM
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Without a doubt, Brexit has become a disaster for British expats living anywhere in the EU, but how is it affecting those who chose Southeast Asia as their destination?

The political turmoil caused by what was sold to the general public as a non-binding advisory referendum hasn’t just resulted in expat dreams being shattered all across Europe, it’s also hurt UK nationals living, retiring or working in the rest of the world including Southeast Asia. During the past three years, the value of sterling has fallen dramatically, especially in countries suspected of manipulating their own currencies. For many expats, the formerly favourite retirement and expat employment hub of Thailand is now an imperfect demonstration of currency exchange losses caused both by self-serving political manoeuvering back in the home country and currency manipulation. To make matters far, far worse, the Thai baht is at its strongest for a decade or more, with the double whammy for expats now exacerbated by inflation.

Many UK expats draw funds from family businesses or investments back home which are also suffering due to trade wars and other negatives, and the recent unwelcome changes to the Thai immigration system have piled even more financial pressure on expatriates. Hardest hit are those on the none-too generous UK state pension, particularly as it’s frozen at the rate being paid at the moment of departure from the UK. Given the above, one would expect British expatriates in Thailand to be overwhelmingly in favour of Britain’s staying in the EU, but the reality is that many support its leaving, even if a no-deal exit is the only way out.

A good number are either running small businesses or supporting their Thai wives’ families as well as their children by the new wife, seemingly unable to make the connection between a weaker UK and its currency exchange rate. Only a few, it seems, realise the British people, wherever they’re located, have been sold a lie from square one, especially regarding the promised ‘easy’ trade agreements with other world countries including Trump’s USA. As a result of these lies, British expats all over Europe and beyond are now terrified their carefully chosen lifestyles will be snatched away, forcing them to return to the UK and face up to economic chaos. It’s the same for expats considering leaving Thailand and preferring to repatriate rather than relying on the continuance of the present-day welcome in other Southeast Asian countries. Either way, it seems the days of creating a brand new life in a welcoming destination on the other side of the world are now over for Britons, perhaps for good.
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