Thailand seeks to lure UK pensioners in the wake of Brexit

Thailand Elite is a government agency tasked with running an "exclusive" visa scheme for pensioner-age Britons.
Thailand Elite is a government agency tasked with running an "exclusive" visa scheme for pensioner-age Britons. PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Thailand Elite is a government agency tasked with running an "exclusive" visa scheme for pensioner-age Britons.
Thailand Elite is a government agency tasked with running an "exclusive" visa scheme for pensioner-age Britons. PHOTO: THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Thailand has launched a campaign aimed at attracting pensioner-age Britons to move to the country after the United Kingdom formally leaves the European Union, a British media outlet has reported.

Pruet Boobphakam, the president of Thailand Elite, a government agency tasked with running the "exclusive" visa scheme, told the Press Association that Britain's divorce from the EU was a chance to strengthen ties between the two countries.

"I think that Brexit will give us an opportunity to even open more, or to introduce Thailand even on a broader scale," he said.

"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," Pruet was quoted in www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk on Friday (April 7).

However, the website said the offer of Thailand's 20-year residence programme, which was originally launched in 2003, does not come cheap, costing US$600 (S$842) a year, on top of a US$60,000 fee, although promoters say the low cost of living can help make up for the bill.

It also offers 10-year residence for around US$30,000, with perks like VIP transport services and annual health checks at a private hospital, as well as a five-year option for US$15,000.

Juerg Steffen, group chief operating officer at Henley & Partners, an international residence and citizenship advisory firm that promotes the programme, said visa schemes like Thailand's were providing a clarity amid Brexit uncertainty.

"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," Steffen said.

"You have to wait for the next two years to see if you can settle in the EU. But with Thailand it is clear," he said.