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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi people.
My wife and I are wanting to move to Thailand to work and live in Phuket.
We are both still quite young (30's) and would like to live there forever more.
We have been to Thailand on holiday and noticed there were quite a few brits living there.
We would love to hear any advice on what we need to do, like the best visa to apply for, where to look for work etc.
I also would like to point out that I am a very fast mover and would hopefully be in Thailand in the next 8 weeks!

Any advice would be terrific, but please keep the advice constructive, I know how mad and stupid I am.
 
G

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There are some major obstacles I'm afraid. Imagine an equivalent Thai couple suddenly deciding "I know, let's move to the UK in a couple of months, and find some work"... Well, the same applies - getting the UK to issue you with visas, finding work, etc. The Thais make it very difficult for anything other than Thais to be employed. A company has to employ a minimum number of Thais for every Westerner. A company has to be majority-owned by Thais. Only Thais can own land. Etc.

Basically if it's a job a Thai can do, the Thais ensure that's what will happen. One notable exception is teaching English. Reputable schools will take on English mother tongue teachers with a degree and preferably also a TEFL (teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification. They will then go about getting the relevant long-term visa for you. Other Westerners muddle by working illegally for the less reputable schools, coming in on a 90 day tourist visa (with which you are NOT allowed to work), then doing border runs to renew their visas for a maximum two weeks at a time. Not much fun in my opinion.

You won't be able to easily get any other kind of long-term visa. Retirement visas are issued from 50 years - so long as you have a guaranteed pension, or can invest 800,000 baht in a Thai bank. If you marry a Thai, or have Thai family, you can get a long-term visa too - but you still have to stick 400,000 baht in a Thai bank. You can get in on a long-term education visa, if you've the funds to pay up front for a course at a Thai college, studying whatever.

You saw lots of expats there, sure. Some will be bumming along playing the fringes of the system, doing fortnightly border runs. Others will be in the 50+ bracket, ie retired. Plenty more will have found themselves a young Thai bride. A fair number will be teaching. A few will be studying. Another bunch will look like they're living there, but in fact come over for two or three months until the money runs out, go home to work for a while, then off they go back to Thailand when they've got enough funds together again.

It's not like the EU - there are an increasing number of barriers being put up to stop Brits etc going over on spec, ie what was once known as the backpacker brigade. The Thais - rightly or wrongly - are targeting a more upmarket type of foreign visitor.

So what can I say - if you've got loadsamoney there are ways and means. If you've a degree and/or a teaching diploma then you've a good chance of a 'proper' teaching job. Still pays peanuts though. If you've the money to study something or other, then that can be an in. Retirement's along way off, and as you're a couple you're not about to marry a delectable young Thai, so those options are out. Hmm, doesn't leave much!

There are SE Asian countries that are a bit more amenable to Westerners obtaining visas -Thailand's definitely one of the worst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you very much, that's quite informative.
I have somewhere to stay in Thailand that is mine to use as long as I desire, so all I really would like to do is to work in the IT industry and eventually find a Thai partner to go into business with.
My profession is pretty much in short supply in Thailand from what I have gathered already and I already have some leads to gain employment and my wife is already a teacher with a degree, so doing a TEFL course would be quite a simple task for her.

I am mostly interested in how to go about visas to start.
Do I apply here for a 3 month tourist visa and upgrade when I find employment, or do I apply for a work permit here in the UK first?

Also driving and owning of vehicles in Thaialnd, what do I need to know regarding this? As I intend to own a couple of cars there pretty much from the outset.

Thanks for the help.
 
G

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That would be a reasonable method - the tourist visa is 60 days, extendable to 90 by the way, via a stamp at immigration on 60 day expiry. You can't just upgrade to a work visa within LOS, if you find a job. You have to leave Thailand and apply for a new visa in another country. Didn't think there was a shortage of IT Thais, but maybe you're in a niche field. Setting up with a Thai partner is harder than it sounds, but best of luck.

You can't just apply for a work visa in the UK without actually having a bona fide job offer and all the supporting paperwork to present to the consulate. TEFL isn't vital if your wife is already a teacher with a degree, but it helps. She might be able to swing a job offer in advance, depending on her subject. There are international schools as well that are sometimes looking for staff. Otherwise teaching English to Thais is the standard fall-back.

Owning/driving a car? Cars are at least as expensive as back home. I've always rented, no problems with an international licence. Forget what's involved in obtaining a Thai licence, but I vaguely remember that it entitles you to cheaper insurance.

Hull has the rep for being the 'easiest-going' Thai consulate in the UK, indeed in Europe, for issuing visas. Not sure if that's changed though. There was a time you could apply for a 12 month visa purely on the strength of visiting close friends! Beware the recent crackdowns though, some powerful Thais tend to go on anti-foreigner campaigns in times of political turmoil, and the effects filter through as tougher visa requirements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks a lot, I shall ask the Hull consulate about the best visa for me, a year would indeed suit me, but I am not going to set my hopes too high for this.
 

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That would be a reasonable method - the tourist visa is 60 days, extendable to 90 by the way, via a stamp at immigration on 60 day expiry. You can't just upgrade to a work visa within LOS, if you find a job. You have to leave Thailand and apply for a new visa in another country. Didn't think there was a shortage of IT Thais, but maybe you're in a niche field. Setting up with a Thai partner is harder than it sounds, but best of luck.

You can't just apply for a work visa in the UK without actually having a bona fide job offer and all the supporting paperwork to present to the consulate. TEFL isn't vital if your wife is already a teacher with a degree, but it helps. She might be able to swing a job offer in advance, depending on her subject. There are international schools as well that are sometimes looking for staff. Otherwise teaching English to Thais is the standard fall-back.

Owning/driving a car? Cars are at least as expensive as back home. I've always rented, no problems with an international licence. Forget what's involved in obtaining a Thai licence, but I vaguely remember that it entitles you to cheaper insurance.

Hull has the rep for being the 'easiest-going' Thai consulate in the UK, indeed in Europe, for issuing visas. Not sure if that's changed though. There was a time you could apply for a 12 month visa purely on the strength of visiting close friends! Beware the recent crackdowns though, some powerful Thais tend to go on anti-foreigner campaigns in times of political turmoil, and the effects filter through as tougher visa requirements.
Don't have to worry about bitter Thais at Hull, is British staffed and follows the immigration law as written rathewr than some tin-pot's interpretation that day.

If your wife has a teaching degree and experience in the UK, then apply at Thai International schools FROM THE UK. Most Int. Schools here do not hire locally (regardless of quals) but want to bring in foreign teachers from home, so that's your best path. Int. school wages can be upwards of 4-5 times government school's Englkiosh teacer wages (for a foreigner which is more than double the Thai teacher's).

PS: Any idea where in Thailand you are aiming for? I'm also in my 30's and many of mny expat friend's here are 20/30/40's, so not everyone here is a retiree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice.
I have looked into the Hull Consulate site and shall be making my application there.

I will be looking at living in Phuket, in or around Patong.

I am also wondering the Tax implications of working remotely for my existing UK based employer.
I will be doing 2 hours or so work each workday evening for my existing company mostly by remote logins and email.
How would I be taxed and who by?
 
G

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If you are working in Thailand, the law states that you have to have a work visa. You can't work on any other type of long-stay visa.

If you try to get a work visa you will likely come a cropper. There are all sorts of obstacles. I once went to the Phnom Penh embassy laden with documents that a Thai solicitor had helped me to prepare, and the application was rejected out of hand. I was lucky to get back in with a 3 month tourist visa on that occasion.

Of course, if you are out of Thailand, back in the UK now and again, it might be said that all your work is done there. In which case, at least to begin with, you carry on paying your tax in the UK. If it really becomes a permanent move, then you can get legal/tax advice from a specialist lawyer in expat affairs in Thailand, who would be better qualified to advise you on your options. Whatever you do, be VERY careful what you tell the Thai consulate about your job. I wouldn't advise anyone to break the law of course, but just remember that it is incredibly difficult to get a work visa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice chaps.
I've got the 'O' non immigrant visas sorted for me and the wife, and I'm making the move at easter weekend!

Wish us luck :D
 

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Thanks for the advice.
I have looked into the Hull Consulate site and shall be making my application there.

I will be looking at living in Phuket, in or around Patong.

I am also wondering the Tax implications of working remotely for my existing UK based employer.
I will be doing 2 hours or so work each workday evening for my existing company mostly by remote logins and email.
How would I be taxed and who by?
Do not tell anyone (especially anyone in authority) you are working here - you will not get a work permit based on this, so it is not in your interests at all. Your income is based on overseas investments - full stop!
 
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