Where to go if Thailand doesn?t want you any more

Where to go if Thailand doesn?t want you any more

Where to go if Thailand doesn?t want you any more

For decades, anywhere south of the USA border with Mexico has been the destination of choice for American retirees due to easy access to the home country and ready-made expat communities.

Since the rush to retire overseas became truly international, the Mexican border with North America has been the favourite exit for literally millions of USA citizen retirees. Gradually, the influx headed south to include the Caribbean countries, the Pacific coastline and a number of South American hotspots. Comparatively recently, adventurous Americans broadened their vision to include Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. For a decade or more, advertorials for developing countries told tales about life in exotic destinations, until the world began to change along with local perceptions of expats in general.

There are no official numbers for Thailand’s expatriate presence in the country, but retired Americans make up a good percentage and are now scattered across all the favourite hotpots along with a substantial number of British retirees. Many have married local girls and created new families, intending to stay for the remainder of their lives due to the cheap cost of living and straightforward retirement and marriage visas. Sadly, a good number are now fearful they’ll be forced to leave, as recent complicated, harsh changes to visa laws have left them at best confused or at worst not able to comply with the new financial regulations due to the manner in which they access their funds held overseas.

Expat forums in Thailand now hold endless discussions on where to head for should the worst happen, and include requests for advice on selling properties and possessions as well as the likelihood of being able to bring their Thai wives and families back to their home countries. At present, neither the UK nor the USA offer much hope, as immigration laws include stringent financial and other requirements and neither country is considered immigrant-friendly at the present time. The only hope for many may well lie somewhere south of the US/Mexico border.

Costs of living, although possibly higher than in Thailand, are far less than in the USA or UK, and the overall climates are friendly and mild for older pensioners, as are many states’ immigration requirements. Those seriously considering leaving before further expected immigration changes hit home are looking for easier immigration laws, eventual permanent residency or even citizenship, year-round warm weather, access to learning the local language, interesting food choices, a national buy-in healthcare system and a safe, non-violent environment.

Some prefer urban locations, with others just as happy with a rural setting, but the one essential is security as regards their human rights to stay in their new homes and live their lives without the looming threat of having the rug pulled out from under their feet without warning and at almost a moment’s notice. The one problem for those married to local girls and with a second family is the chance their wives won’t want to drag themselves away from their families and local communities into a strange land halfway across the world. Those who do decide to head for Central or Southern America will simply be closing the loop of US retiree migration.

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