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Thailand or Malaysia for Retirement Print E-mail
Sunday, 16 August 2009 03:08

Thailand and Malaysia both offer retirement options for expats. But which is the better country for your retirement? What does each have to offer and is either a clear winner in the expatriate retirement stakes.

In trying to make some sort of judgement about the suitability for choosing a retirement venue there are lots of things to consider,visa regulations, property ownership, cost of living and lifestyle are probably fairly high on any ones list. As is geography, climate and the provision of basic services like water and electricity.

In today's article I would just like to focus on visa regulations and home ownership for anyone considering Thailand or Malaysia for retirement.

The Malaysia My Second Home(MM2H) is a special scheme to encourage expats to settle in Malaysia. The scheme allows settlement for 10 years and is renewable after that time. The financial requirements to qualify for MM2H are fairly high in that 350,000 Malaysian Ringgits-MYR(£60,000) must be deposited in a Malaysian bank and a monthly offshore income of 10,000 MYR(£1700) is required for someone 50+ years old. This can be reduced after the first year to enable the purchase of essentials like a house or car. The MM2H scheme also caters for people under 50 wanting to retire to the country although the deposit in this case is 500,000 MYR. No system of reporting is imposed by the Malaysian authorities and the MM2H visa is multi entry.

Retirement in Thailand is achieved using an O Non Immigrant visa with annual retirement extensions. Only 800,000 Baht (£15,000) is required in a Thai bank or an "income" of 65,000 baht (£1181)a month. These figures apply in to someone 50+ because the scheme does not cover persons under 50. Annual renewal is required as well as reporting to Immigration police every 90 days. Retirement extensions do not allow you to exit and re-enter Thailand without purchasing a re-entry permit.

Property ownership in Thailand limits foreigners to owning only condominiums, subject to a Thai majority (51%) ownership within the development. Foreigners can however lease land and build a home upon it. Malaysia is far more flexible and foreigners may own property and importantly land, which is not the case in Thailand. However under the MM2H scheme the property purchased must exceed 250,000 MYR in value. There is no minimum cost involved in Thailand.

Based on these two conditions to retiring in Malaysia and Thailand each country would seem to offer certain advantages. Malaysia although more expensive effectively offers resident status using the MM2H scheme while Thailand although cheaper is far more bureaucratic in its system of O visa retirement extensions.

Thailand on the other hand would also seem to be a winner regarding property providing you don't mind leasing as opposed to owning land.

Of course as I said at the start of this article there are many other things to consider when choosing a retirement venue. So can I pose these questions?

1. Given the choice would you plump for Malaysia or Thailand for retirement?

2. Aside from visas and property what would attract you to each country?


Source: http://www.my-thai-friend.com/2009/08/thailand-or-malaysia-for-retirement.html



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