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Quit Job, Options to Stay in Thailand


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I'm ready to leave my job as it's steadily becoming more and more stressful after many years there. I have enough money to live and not work and would like to stay in Thailand. I am not yet 50, so am not eligible for a retirement visa yet.

 

In normal times, I'd probably be happy to do a bit of international travel using Thailand as a base, using tourist visas. Clearly this is not an option during the pandemic, and I'd like to avoid leaving and coming back.

 

I've asked agents and schools about options. The "NGO" visa is possible, but sounds a bit dodgy. And when I talked to schools, their ED visa was basically the same kind of thing. If I don't leave the country and come back in, it's a dodgy visa with an unnamed school upcountry, not with the actual language school. These options are possible, but I'd be worried about future implications if they're not completely legit.

 

I could try the Covid extension, but that also has issues as I have been reading.

 

Perhaps the most obvious solution would be to stay at my job for at least six more months until hopefully travel will be easier. But I'd really prefer to quite in the next couple of months if there's an easy option. And I would like to spend a while without working at all, so I will not be looking for alternative employment.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts? Are these NGO visas a good way to go or is it best to try to avoid this route? Thanks for your help.

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The NGO visas are likely done under the table (illegally). That's why visa agents charge 20,000 THB or more for them. If you get caught, could get blacklisted.

 

ED visa is legal, but you have to have X number of hours of Thai lessons each week. But still depends on your current visa, and you need to check/research if you can change to extensions based on studying.

 

COVID extensions are a good option, except no one knows when they will stop. They cost 1,900 THB and need to be extended every 2 months.

 

Continuing at your job is also a good option, for ฿ and especially for the visa. With COVID, no one knows what will happen with visas. A work visa is an insurance in a way, maybe worth enduring the issues at work.

 

Edited by ThLT
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Thanks. I was told the "legit" ED visa required leaving the country and coming back. If I don't leave the country, the cost would be high and they wouldn't require me to go to school! So basically the same as an NGO visa, but pricier. I don't mind attending classes, but I don't want to be forced to leave the country while there are all sorts of rules and regulations in place (though at least I've been vaxed!)

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6 minutes ago, mark333 said:

I've asked agents and schools about options. The "NGO" visa is possible, but sounds a bit dodgy. And when I talked to schools, their ED visa was basically the same kind of thing. If I don't leave the country and come back in, it's a dodgy visa with an unnamed school upcountry, not with the actual language school.

These are dodgy and if you want to stay legal, stay away. 

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22 minutes ago, mark333 said:

Thanks. I was told the "legit" ED visa required leaving the country and coming back. If I don't leave the country, the cost would be high and they wouldn't require me to go to school! So basically the same as an NGO visa, but pricier. I don't mind attending classes, but I don't want to be forced to leave the country while there are all sorts of rules and regulations in place (though at least I've been vaxed!)

Depends on your current visa, but I imagine you're on a Non-Immigrant B visa. Maybe you can do "extensions based on studying." However, I have zero knowledge of this. Maybe this is possible. ubonjoe or other members could confirm more details about this. This would be legal. 

 

Going from B visa to ED visa without leaving the country, like you said, would be illegal. 

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2 minutes ago, Neeranam said:

 

These are dodgy and if you want to stay legal, stay away. 

I had the same opinion, but was in a similar predicament as the OP last year. The company I worked for could no longer keep paying me due to Covid, so we decided to at least temporarily end the employment. That way I at least would get some benefits from the government. That ended a 15 year employment during which not a single time I used an agent, accountant or lawyer to deal with immigration or the labor department. Immigration always made it clear they preferred to deal with an agent and not with companies and employees directly, but we always succeeded and never paid a Baht more than the official fees for anything. 

 

Anyway after my termination I checked with immigration on options for me. A standard ED visa / extension is apparently not possible on a non-b entry. Immigration suggested contacting an agent.

 

Long story short, I ended up with an extension based on volunteering through a very influential acquaintance. At times I worried about the legitimacy of it all, but nothing like when I walked up to the re-entry booth at the airport earlier this year for a short trip abroad. I was expecting some serious questions… anyway the officer took my passport without saying much and disappeared in her office. 5 minutes later she comes out with a big smile and is suddenly very polite and wais me!!! after handing back my passport with the re entry stamp. I won’t speculate on how these things work, but suffice to say no one wants to risk it stop working…

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Depends upon where you are living .. have you ever thought of learning Thai? There are some decent schools that offer a visa, you learn to speak / read / write the lingo, and you might get to meet some decent people.

 

I don't know what schools are open or what they are offering, but I when I first arrived, and I had nothing to do, I studied for 6 months - I didn't even need have the Ed visa.

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I've asked agents and schools about options. The "NGO" visa is possible, but sounds a bit dodgy. And when I talked to schools, their ED visa was basically the same kind of thing. If I don't leave the country and come back in, it's a dodgy visa with an unnamed school upcountry, not with the actual language school. These options are possible, but I'd be worried about future implications if they're not completely legit.

Yes if you want to sleep at night stay away from illegal practices.

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Thanks for all the replies. It seems there isn't one simple option, so I'll just have to make a decision.

 

Although I've got enough money to live for a while without working, the Elite Visa is probably a little pricey.

 

As for the ED visa, I'd be perfectly happy to attend classes. My Thai is already pretty good, but I could do one-on-one advanced lessons, or study another language (there are several that are taught and all are accepted for the ED visa). The only issue is that I'd have to leave the country and come back to get a "legit" ED visa.

 

I think travel will become easier next year, so maybe I'll end up working a bit longer just for the visa until then. It's just that the work is doing my head in! A long break after so many years is what I need. I'll need to make a decision this month one way or another.

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2 hours ago, gk10012001 said:

You typically get the Elite Visa upon arrival at the airport, so not sure how it could work if one is already in the country.

I wouldn't necessarily vote for thaielite, but sticking PE visa at Chaengwattana is an option.

From an old instructions letter:

  • Staying in Thailand, you can affix Elite Visa at immigration Bureau Chaengwattana in Bangkok.

    - Member who hold tourist visa, exempted visa or visa upon arrival have to book service 5 working days in advance for making the appointment with customer contact center.

    - Member who hold non-immigrant visa, visa cancelation must done at immigration where visa was issued and do 7 days extension. Then, you could contact customer contact center for making the appointment to get Elite visa during this period.

    - Member, who hold non-immigrant visa was issued from oversea, must leave country and could affix Elite Visa at Suvarnabhumi Airport. **Some nationality is required visa to enter Thailand**

  • Arriving in Thailand, member could affix Elite Visa at Suvanabhumi, Phuket and Chiang Mai International Airport. For connecting flight, we strongly require at least 4-5 hours gap between the next flights.
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You want to do the right thing at the wrong time.

Not being 50 I suggest hang on to your job for awhile.

Once close borders are open many options open up within 2 hours flying of Thailand &  (or) cross border runs giving not only visa options but some great places to visit

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You mention having money... Elite visa?

Also, why dismiss the pssibility of travelling? You don't say how long you need before 50, but if it's like a year or so, why not see the world a little? Not with Thailand as a base, re-entering with COE is no fun at the moment. But just travel away for a while. There are many countries that are quite safe, esp. if you are vaccinated. I would start from Guam, if you like sea and tropics. Or why not a grand tour through Europe, Iceland to Malta, Azores to Estonia, bit pricey but with so much to experience - esp. things you will not have easily once back to Thailand like culture, street life, history, natural parks.

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15 hours ago, arithai12 said:

You mention having money... Elite visa?

Also, why dismiss the pssibility of travelling? You don't say how long you need before 50, but if it's like a year or so, why not see the world a little? Not with Thailand as a base, re-entering with COE is no fun at the moment. But just travel away for a while. There are many countries that are quite safe, esp. if you are vaccinated. I would start from Guam, if you like sea and tropics. Or why not a grand tour through Europe, Iceland to Malta, Azores to Estonia, bit pricey but with so much to experience - esp. things you will not have easily once back to Thailand like culture, street life, history, natural parks.

I'm not dismissing travelling at all. I'd like to do that. But it's kind of difficult at the moment. And although I have enough money to live and travel in this part of the world, some of the additional costs and rules of travel right now make it a problem. I also have a newish car here, which I would like to keep. (I'm assuming this would be possible whatever visa I'm on, but if anyone has any info on keeping a car when on a tourist visa, please let me know.) I also have lots of other stuff that I've accumulated over the years.

 

Basically I do envisage using Thailand as a base, so I will rent a cheap place to store things here if I'm off travelling. I think though that it might be a number of months before overseas travel becomes easy enough to make it worth it.

 

I'm still 50/50 about staying on in the job for another six months. But there are reasons I'd like to quit now. Basically in the past we had a largely autonomous English department but recently we have been losing that autonomy to bureaucrats who are telling us what to do, changing our courses without consulting us etc. And many of the biggest changes will come into effect very soon. It is becoming genuinely stressful and all of our foreign staff are worried about the future. If it weren't for the Covid situation, I'd absolutely quit this year.

 

Thanks again for your replies.

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Yeah, a rushed marriage to a Thai woman just for a visa just when I've managed to save up a decent amount of money doesn't sound like a sensible idea.

 

I think basically it's one of these options:

1) stick around in the job that's going downhill fast

2) try for Covid extensions if they're still available when I quit

3) go for the NGO visa

 

And hope that travel restrictions start to ease. Once that happens, everything will be easier.

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On 10/6/2021 at 8:13 PM, gk10012001 said:

Fork over the money for an Elite Visa. If under 50 you can pay to stay.  Currently 600,000 baht for 5 years, with some possibility of the 6th year depending on if one is stamped the right way at the end from some reports.  You tpically get the Elite Visa upon arrival at the airport, so not sure how it could work if one is already in the country.  It seems that you could just go to the airport and meet up with the Elite folks?

If you’ve been here long enough and earn 80k per month for the past three years - the PR would be a much better option than the elite. 

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OP, just be aware... whenever someone comes on here talking about agent 'assisted' visas, be it ED, volunteer or retirement, there will follow a posse of outraged posters banding about words like blacklist, deportation etc .

 

None of these posters will ever provide a link to any of the above actually happening of course.

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