Long a cornerstone of the backpacker trail, Thailand is becoming more and more popular with Brits looking to make a permanent move abroad.

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The warm climate, truly spectacular landscape and emerging economy are tempting many to seek new opportunities in South East Asia and there are now over 250,000 expats living in Thailand.While traditionally the vast majority of these expats hailed from neighbouring Asian nations, Thailand’s appeal is increasingly reaching the more distant shores of America and Europe. Today, more than 100,000 Thai residents are American or European by birth, including over 30,000 British expats.

Employment and Wealth

While Thailand’s staggeringly rapid industrialisation and growth has led to some economic and political instability, the economic outlook is now relatively secure and positive making it an ideal time to seek out new opportunities.

Both large industry and the service sector continue to dominate the Thai economy and continue to welcome skilled foreign labour. There are also some excellent expat career opportunities in education and healthcare. Salaries are generally fair and generous, if not lavish, but, as the cost of living is comparatively much lower than the UK, your pay packet can go far.

There are also some additional expenses to consider, such as private health and education costs. While there is state funded education across the country, almost all UK expats moving to Thailand with children choose one of the excellent international schools around Bangkok due to the language barrier. Health insurance is another unavoidable expense, although it does ensure a high standard of healthcare.

Travel Prospects

With beautiful islands to the south and spectacular tropical forests, there is plenty to explore without leaving the country, but if you do decide to venture further afield, Thailand is perfectly placed at the heart of South East Asia with Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia all close by.

The bustling hotspots of Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong are all just over two hours flight from Bangkok, all waiting to assault your senses with heady sights, scents and tastes. For a more sedate break, Bali is less than four and a half hours away and boasts idyllic island beaches and stunning tropical scenery.

The antipodean delights of Australia are also well within reach with Perth and Sydney both well under ten hours flight from Bangkok. You can even fly directly back to the UK in 12 hours, if you want to!

But how easy is it to move there?

A UK citizen will automatically be granted a 30 day tourist visa on arrival, but if you’re planning on living and working in Thailand long-term, you will need to arrange the relevant papers through the Thai embassy before you leave.

If moving to Thailand for work, you will need a non-immigrant visa which will be valid for 90 days. After this, you must apply for a temporary work visa and an extension of stay which will last one year and can then be renewed. To be eligible to work, you must provide an array of paperwork confirming the job offer, the company credentials and your own qualifications.

Those wanting to enjoy their retirement in Thailand will also need a non-immigrant visa and proof you can support yourself with at least £16,000 in savings and £1,250 per month income.

Expats on these types of temporary visa are also required to report to their local immigration office every 90 days to confirm their address and status.

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