British workers encouraged to retire to Thailand after Brexit and snap up a £60k 20-year residency permit – just watch out for your state pension being frozen
- A Thai official claims Brexit offers UK expats a ‘good opportunity’ to move
- Government agency Thailand Elite offers 5, 10 and 20 year packages
- What the officials don’t mention is that your state pension could be frozen
The UK’s divorce from the EU offers pensioner-age Britons a ‘good opportunity’ to up sticks and move to Thailand, a Thai official has claimed.
With the value of the pound faltering against European currencies and ongoing uncertainty about the rights of Britons living within the EU after Brexit, a residency permit for further afield destinations like Thailand could be the answer.
But, before dumping scarves and jumpers and grabbing some sandals and shorts for the next flight to Thailand, it pays to assess the costs and pitfalls involved in getting a residency pass. In three words, it’s not cheap.
What’s more, onerous rules mean your UK state pension could be frozen if you head to Thailand, meaning expats wouldn’t benefit from any payout hikes..
An ‘exclusive’ 20-year residency pass to Thailand offered by Thailand Elite, the government-owned agency in charge of running the various residency schemes, costs £481 a year, on top of a £48,138 one-off fee.
This 20-year package comes with a state-sponsored ‘concierge service’, entitling members VIP access for their dealings with the government’s work permit, immigration and driving license departments.
The Thai government will also provide complimentary return airport transfers, an annual health check up at a private hospital, spa treatments and complimentary golfing trips.
A 10-year residency package is also available for a one-off fee of £24,066 plus an annual fee, as is a five year package for £12,033.
Speaking to the Press Association, Pruet Boobphakam, president of Thailand Elite, said: ‘I think that Brexit will give us an opportunity to even open more, or to introduce Thailand even on a broader scale … you can live in Thailand for up to 20 years if you’d like to, therefore it would be a good opportunity for both countries, in terms of UK people and the Thai people.’
Meanwhile, Juerg Steffen, of Henley & Partners, an international residence and citizenship advisory firm, said visa schemes like those available in Thailand were providing clarity amid Brexit-related uncertainty.
She said: ‘If you would like to retire today somewhere abroad as a UK citizen, then suddenly because of Brexit it’s not as clear that you can do that.
‘You have to wait for the next two years to see if you can settle in the EU … but with Thailand it is clear.
‘So with Thailand you pay 15,000 US dollars (£12,033) and you can stay there for five years.
‘So from that perspective, it’s very interesting for people who would like to retire abroad in the next few years.’
Living in Thailand can be cheap. Basics like food and transport are far less expensive than in the UK and at present you can get just over 43 Thai baht for £1.
But, what Thai government officials won’t tell you is that when moving to countries like Thailand your state pension will be frozen.
State pensions become fixed when you first retire or move abroad if you decide to live in certain countries, including Canada, India and Australia, but not in others – forcing many to struggle with the cost of living or give up and return home.
The controversial policy means some expats who retired when the basic rate was £67.50 a week in 2000 still get that, rather than the £122.30 which will be received by others who retired that year from today.