UK expats in Thailand worried about Brexit reverberations

Published:  27 Jun at 6 PM
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As the value of sterling shrinks due to the disastrous and unexpected result of the Brexit referendum, expats living in the southeast Asian retirement hub as well as visitors are expressing their concern.

According to Thailand’s popular English language newspaper Bangkok Post, it’s not just British expats living, retiring and working in Thailand who are concerned about the effects of the Leave win. British tourists are also worried about the increased cost of holidays and the economic instability caused by the exchange rate.

At present, the only Thailand-based downside of Brexit as a reality is the effect on UK retirees living on a frozen British state pension without secondary pensions or investments to shore up their monthly stipend. Over the past decade or so, Thailand has become a favourite destination due to its low cost of living and warm weather, but any further deterioration in the baht/sterling rate is likely to create hardship, especially amongst long-stay elderly Brits whose pensions are still being paid at the same rate as when they arrived.

One long-term resident considers that UK retirees who’ve been forced to leave their homes in EU member states may decide to come to Thailand rather than return to the UK. However, he’s not over-impressed with the quality of many who are already there, adding that their behaviour in the culturally very different country is sometimes embarrassing.

At present, visas for long-stay retirement are comparatively easy to obtain via Thai embassies overseas, provided a sum of 800,000 baht (approximately £16,500) is deposited and left in a Thai bank account. However, Thailand’s present military government isn’t seen to be sympathetic to Westerners in general, giving cause for concern as to possible changes in visa requirements making life difficult for many.
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