The Elite visa has had a checkered history since then premier Thaksin introduced it 20 years ago. Basically it offers multiple entry residency in Thailand from 5-20 years in return for a cash payment from 600,000 baht to around two million.
The visa has proved popular with many nationalities, especially property owners and retirees, as there is no need to show financial records on an ongoing basis and no compulsory medical insurance. At the last count there were around 20,000 Elite holders in total.
Elite does not offer a work permit although Thailand Privilege offers a fast-track route if required. Compared with the 10 year LTR (long term residence) visa, or the 10 year O/X retirement visa, the documentary requirements for Elite are simple. It is far and away the most popular of the long- term options.
However, there are now concerns that some questionable fish may be slipping through the net. Although the Elite registration requires Thai police clearance, many observers say this should be extended to the Interpol data base. Moreover, there are worries that some Elite cards have been approved overseas at inflated costs in return for minimal checks.
In 2022, the largest number of Elite enquirers have apparently been Chinese. Given the recent claims of corruption in the regular Thai police, for example in the scams to award student visas to foreigners without any interest in learning, there are obvious dangers in handing out Elites without due process. Some variants of Elite permit the immigration of spouses and dependent children at minimal extra cost.
Several other countries have been forced to cancel semi-permanent or quasi-citizenship visas after publicized scandals. The UK is one such example after extensive publicity about dubious but rich Russian oligarchs. As Thailand recovers from the pandemic, she must be mindful of the pitfalls of extended stays.
֎ There’s a mystery sandal thief on the loose in Soi Buakhao. Several customers at massage shops have complained about having to hop home after discovering someone had skipped off as it were. Police say they are very busy at present but will encourage foot patrols.
֎ Awesome news that the penalty for drivers not giving way to pedestrians at traffic-lighted authorized crossings has shot up to 4,000 baht (100 pounds). There are rumors that some crossings are due to have installed cameras which have been trained to snap you and send you the bill by post. The registered owner is responsible for fines.
֎ Pattaya’s favorite fish and chip shop, Sharples, is currently available at Bentley’s Bar on Pratumnak Hill. Open 3 pm to 10.30 pm but now closed on Sundays. The opening of new premises in Soi New Plaza, just off Second Road, has been delayed by several weeks. That’s par for the course in Thailand, Shaun.
֎ When it comes to nightlife, Pattaya was always cheaper than Bangkok. But that’s changing according to the weekly Stickman column. Pattaya’s Soi 6 or L.K.Metro might still have the edge, but Walking Street now sports metropolis prices.
֎ Where’s the next Pattaya area where real estate prices will boom? Many think it will be Mabprachan lake where a huge medical city is under early construction. Some real estate developers have already moved to offer five star housing.
֎ Cyber crime is getting out of hand with daily reports of people getting cheated financially one way and another. The police have a hotline number 1441 or an online contact ThaiPoliceOnline.com Best wishes to all who sail in her.
֎ A couple of readers have asked about opportunities with bows and arrows. We thought the local archery clubs had disappeared, but there’s a Line ID: jomtienarchery club.
֎ An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex (Aldous Huxley).
֎ I’ve made so many movies playing a hooker that they don’t pay me in the regular way anymore. They leave it on the dresser. (Shirley Maclaine).
֎ There are a number of mechanical devices which increase sexual arousal, particularly in women. Chief amongst these is the Mercedes Benz 500L. (Lynn Lavner)
֎ A good place to buy second hand interior parts for old cars? Try Boy Air and Sound on Sukhumvit, on the opposite side from the Toyota agency. For example, they can usually find you a disc player and radio.
֎ Draft regulations to increase the penalties for amphetamines revealed. One tablet and you’re an addict. Two and you are a dealer.