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BANGKOK 16 November 2018 08:33


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About robsamui

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  • Birthday 03/13/1950

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    South Thailand

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  1. if you are not earning 50 (or 60) K baht per month then you will still be issued a work permit - you don't understand how it works. Simply, whatever you are earning under these amounts, you will pay tax on 50K. I've been employed on 36K and for 12 years have been paying tax on 50K all that time.
  2. robsamui

    LOS alternative

    I've been living in Thailand full-time since 1997 but for the last 12 months have been looking closely at alternatives - the Thai admin has become positively hostile lately. The requirements: good climate, tolerable monsoon/rainy season, cheaper than Thailand, and benign immigration policy. Plus a coastal region with beaches. I'm looking for somewhere to retire now and run down my days, so I'm not interested in travelling at all. I looked VERY closely at Mexico for several months, joining a number of local forums and interacting with people on the spot. But all sorts of problems, including the same kind of insane red tape with visas etc as Thailand. (And I'm not American or Canadian.) Goa was another possibility - but 5 or 6 months of rain. Philippines? In the middle of the earthquake/hurricane/belt. Cambodia - possible, and the visa rules are the easiest anywhere - go there and (if over 50) you can get unlimited 1-year repeats without having to show any income. But not that much cheaper than Thailand and the coast around Sihanoukville not only has a long rainy season but is now over-run with Chinese investors and tourists. Vietnam on the other hand is most attractive. Americans get a whole separate visa deal with this country. But for Commonwealth citizens it works like this. Before you come you hook up online with one of the many agents and they will authorise the letter of introduction that you need. This letter essentially is a heads-up to the Immigration department, and requests that you be granted one of the various visa types. You pay the agent a fee that relates to the type of visa - only maybe $35 for a 90-day multi entry tourist visa or as much as $500 for a 6-month ME business visa (for which you don't need permits or documents, just cash in hand). You then pay extra for the actual stamp in your passport from Immigration ($25? I forget.) And that's it. People staying here long-term simply do border runs every several months - the repeats are unlimited. The cost of living is effectively half that of beachside Thailand, even in nice little holiday towns like Nha Trang. Unfortunately that area is condo-crazy, but you only need to go 3 or 4 Km inland to find a big 2-bed semi/furnished house in its own grounds for around $300 US a month. Motorbikes (scooters) are easy, too, requiring no registration or paperwork (as we know it) although it's advisable to buy your own insurance. Honda Click, Yam Nouveau or Airblade = $200 - $500 depending on age/condition - just hand the money over and drive away. The roads are generally pretty poor, and most expats seem to fly in and out to renew visas (booking in advance to find cheap fares) and arrange with their agent to have their intro letter ready for immigration on the way back. It is possible to extend your visa without leaving the country, but it's a very silly price, so it seems that nobody does that. The only downside that I can see is that the immigration officer is not obliged to give you the visa that you want, even though you have paid the agent's fee in advance. Reputable agents will advise you of the current visa climate, and what is safe to apply for - ie I've read reports of optimists going for a second end-to-end 6-month business visa and being given a 3-month stamp instead. Overall I'm thinking this is going to be preferable to Thailand - but we'll have to wait and see how the new visa regs end up panning out over the next 4 or 5 months!
  3. It's all too easy for most people here to unthinkingly compare Thailand with neighbouring nations like Cambodia or Vietnam, which have similar climates and costs of living, and ask - 'why don't the Thais welcome foreigners like XXX does?' or, 'Why don't the Thais have similarly easy-going immigration rules like XXX?' The fact is that these neighbouring nations have previously been conquered and colonised and the people there feel easy and relaxed about foreigners. There is no 'us-and-them' instinct, as there is in Thailand. The ordinary Thai people aren't like this, they swing between vaguely suspicious, to tolerant, to downright graceful and welcoming. But the gov and the admin are at heart frightened by foreigners. They don't understand us or our expectations, find it hard to communicate with us, and are resentful of our confidence, our greater world-knowledge and our higher levels of information and education. They feel threatened and inferior. Just by having us staying here they are losing face This is the reason for so much red tape and paperwork and PAIN if we want to stay here, and also the enthusiasm for generating an easy-entrance for tourists who will be here and gone in a week. Only it's not possible for any nation to remain in a self-contained little tribe any more, proud and self-sustaining, separate from the world outside. But it's still all about pride and nationalistic self-image in Thailand - it's all about keeping face. And this is now starting to erode the viability of the country. Coming up to the end of the 2nd decade of the 21st century, trying to maintain this false superiority is damaging the Thai presence in the worldwide community and also creating huge problems with the internal machinery that governs the country. Just try to imagine how many foreign-educated hi-so Thai kids are now saying to their ministerial fathers - 'oh for god's sake dad, you just can't keep coming up with ridiculous laws like this - they don't make any sense, it's all over the world's social media and everyone's laughing at us!' This new turn-about is, I think, the first sign of a despairing administration trying to come to terms with all of this, I don't believe it only all about money and revenue . . . and I really hope it's not the last time we see this kind of awkward attempt at adjustment! (Assuming, of course, that some sulky gnarly old Nationalist doesn't step in next month and reverse the whole thing!)
  4. BRAVO! Spot on. As a linguist I realise that very few people are able to express themselves adequately in (even) their own language - it's the reason that politicians and bureaucrats in the West have PR agencies. But not in Thailand - it would be losing face to do that. In addition to actually saying clearly what you intend, there's also the need to organise it all so that it is succinct and clearly defined. In the West there are PR agencies . . . etc etc - but not in Thailand because doing that would be losing face. So Khun Top Big Spokesman rambles and blathers his statement as best he can - then lots of dim-brain reporters try to work out what he means and publish it . . . and then they all try to convert it to another language - English. I can verify that at least one Head of the English Department at one top BKK university has terrible written English - filled with errors in wording and grammar. So it's not at all surprising that what we read in The Nation seems muddled and confusing, is it? We just have to count ourselves lucky that the entire speech from the Immigration Head wasn't just thrown at us via Google Translate!
  5. ONE category of the tourist visas was free. And you re right about unlimited Visas on Arrival. But it had been like that for years. It was the sudden cheap baht that brought the record influx of tourists, not the visas!
  6. yes - because they are so small and insignificant they have to prove to prove to outsiders just how how organised and efficient they really are! The more complex the red tape, the more important it makes them feel!
  7. Damn! Big Joke will have to go into public relations instead. Oh, wait a mo, he IS in public relations already . . .
  8. Really? In 97 the Thai economy crashed, the baht devalued giving 50 to the $ and 70 to the £, and tourists came flooding in. The govt had no need to change anything to get more tourists.
  9. What kind of half-wits are in charge of immigration policy here? How in God's name can ANYONE sane offer long-term visas (6 months etc), or repeating visas, and then announce it is only happening for a trial period of 2 months? This is not only the craziest thing yet but contradicts every other new regulation in the last 2 years. The administration in this country is displaying every sign of active psychosis - if it was one person (and not a govt body) coming out with all these erratic, inconsistent and hysterical regulations, he would be immediately tranquilised and led away by men in white coats.
  10. Faced with a human female behaving worse than most animals, it's sad how many comments there are about how attractive her body is.
  11. For 13 years I religiously carried my passport and work permit with me everywhere. And when I finally had them stolen, it took me five months and cost me a total of 58,000 baht to replace them, including having my WP expire while I was waiting for a new passport, and needing to begin all over again with that. Now they stay at home and I carry copies.
  12. robsamui

    Shoppers warned about online fraud

    'Alibaba' is actually the wholesale branch of the company. 'Aliexpress' is the equivalent of Ebay without the private sales or the auctions. I've been shopping (from Thailand) with Aliexpress for about 15 years now. It is excellent. The few scammers that are advertising and selling with them are easy to sidestep - you pay for your purchase but the money is not released to the seller until you are satisfied. I've bought about 450 items in this time and been scammed maybe 30 times. Each time my money has been refunded by AliExpress. I mention this because none of the Americans I have ever met ( a great many, particularly in the USA and Mexico) have ever heard of it and rudely instantly dismiss it because of that. It's actually as good as Amazon (and about 50 times bigger worldwide. Worth noting that the Thai Lazada online shopping group is also owned by Alibaba, and most of its listing are sourced from there.)
  13. What it all boils down to is that they can't speak English. What they would like to be able to say is "may I see some form of identification, please?" But they can't. So they just mutter "passa-port".
  14. The cost of doing what you suggest makes it a non-starter. Minimum earnings for a farang are deemed to be 50,000 per month, no matter what they are being paid, and tax is paid on this, together with employer and employee national insurance contributions. (No matter what you earn you'll be paying around 4,000B every month in tax and contributions.) Why do you want a work permit? I rather suspect you have some kind of idea about wanting to work (at various things) legitimately - but I also suspect you don't understand how Thai WPs function. A WP doesn't entitle you to be able to work freely in Thailand - it enables you to work for only one named employer doing one specific job. The permit itself is costly and takes a ton of paperwork to obtain - including going abroad to first get a 3-month visa so you can get the WP, then going abroad again 3 months later to get a full 12-month visa - and employers will rightly expect some return on their investment. And, as I said, if you then change jobs, the work permit is specific to that job and employer (plus you have to pay 2,000 to cancel the WP) and that then immediately also negates your Non-Im-B Visa, meaning you have to get different visa (even a 30-day transit stamp) before you start the long process all over again of getting a new WP for a different employer. This whole bureaucracy-heavy process is why Mr Big Joke is having such fun at the moment - it's just such a hassle (and so costly) and so time-consuming to do it all legally. And that means a great many people get here and then just don't bother following it all through.
  15. There are 18 people in the company I work for - five farangs and 13 Thais. The shortest time anyone has been with the company is four years. Six of the Thai staff have been with us more than 15 years. And yet every Christmas party, the Thais all separate out and sit in a group together, away from us farangs. I can only imagine this is instinctive and thus happens everywhere to a greater or lesser degree.