Uneducated Expats

This amused:

According to the Deputy Director, the Thailand Ministry of Education is warning all schools who offer Education Visas to foreigners to be legitimate and make sure students adhere to attendance and testing requirements.

At the Pattaya City Expats Club meeting on Sunday, Immigration Volunteer and former British Consul Barry Kenyan stated the problem with Education visas as he observed it first-hand in the local Immigration office on Jomtien Beach Road, Soi 5.

“A guy came in and wanted to renew his Education visa for a 7th straight year. He waited in the queue and when it was his turn he sat at the Immigration officer’s desk in charge of Education Visas. He had all of his documents from the school. His application was completed and he had the two photos now required for any visa. So the officer looked at him and said, ‘You have been learning Thai for six years already. Is that right?’ The answer was yes so the officer looked at a nearby fish tank and said in Thai, ‘The big fish eat the little fish.” The foreigner looked at him without a clue. The officer smiled and picked up a big red stamp and stamped “CANCELLED” on the remaining portion of the current visa and told the fellow he would not again receive an Education visa,” Barry reported.

That explained why my wife got given the third degree when she went to renew her education visa in Phuket last week.  Fortunately, being a child of the Soviet Union and understanding of the phrase “Учиться, учиться, учиться, как завещал великий Ленин“, she actually attends class and can speak a fair amount of Thai (enough to annoy the teacher), so was able to reply “Yes, but the little fish is not so tasty!”  Or something.  Anyhow, she got her visa renewed.  I’m guessing there are a few worried expats in Thailand right now (and a few worried Thai girlfriends), because of all the people I met living in Thailand on education visas, the only one who actually bothers studying the language with any seriousness is my wife.


5 thoughts on “Uneducated Expats

  1. Tatyana,

    Not at all…although a lot of people have that impression for some reason. Owning a property in Thailand does you no favours whatsoever when it comes to getting a residency visa.


    I’m not sure how many tones it has, but I do know the alphabet is fiendishly difficult. My wife thinks it a lot harder than Korean, which she learned almost to fluency when she lived in Taegu. My neighbour, an Australian, speaks Thai almost to fluency but he went there in the 1970s and was married to a Thai for the best part of 20 years. He’s a rareity.

  2. Foreigners cannot own land in Thailand. Usual is to set up a shell company of dubious legality and for the foreigner to control the land through retaining signature authority and/or preferential shares, as he can only have 49% of the shares. They can own condos but only 49% of the building can be foreign owned.

    Permanent residency (PR) is most frequently acquired through employment in Thailand for a minimum of 3 consecutive years with income tax paid. Western applicants said to be expected to show an annual income of around 80,00 baht (~US$2600) though that can be less depending on job specifics. Almost no PR approvals have been issued since 2006 and no applications were taken last year. Immigration has gradually tightened the screws on foreigners who what to live here full time. Under 50 y/o it’s usually marriage to a Thai, a job or a Ministry of Education approved school for an education visa. School can be for languages – with at least one school here in Pattaya now offering Russian – Muay Thai (kick boxing), computers, cookery and so on. Thai has 5 tones.

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