Police General Surachate suggested replacing the 1979 immigration act, which still governs some visa practices, and he intends to propose this change to the new Thai Cabinet. However, he didn't provide specific policy recommendations for retirement visa extensions, except for emphasizing the need to raise the entry bar, which is currently too low and easily circumvented. The main context of his interview was the urgency of addressing foreign motorbike gangs that have become a problem in Pattaya, Phuket, and Koh Samui. This approach has been labeled "deviancy amplification" by sociologists, as it singles out one criminal issue to justify broader policy actions against a wider segment of society.
Police General Surachate's observations have resonated strongly due to his previous roles as a commander of both the tourist police division and the immigration bureau in 2018-19. In recent years, there have been occasional attempts to tighten the bureaucracy for retirees, such as introducing compulsory medical insurance for certain visas and extensions, notably the "O/A" retiree option initially issued by a Thai embassy. Additionally, bank books have been checked three months after the annual extension is granted. However, these efforts have had minimal impact.
Among several visa options suitable for single or retired individuals, including Elite, Long Term Residence, and Spouse options, the annually renewable retirement visa issued by the immigration bureau remains the most popular due to its affordability and easy availability for foreigners aged over 50. Nonetheless, any policy revisions are likely to take months before being publicly discussed. Some concerns are already being raised about potential unintended consequences of overhauling the system. Most Thai retirees are elderly men aged 65-90 and have no interest in affiliating with foreign mafias or riding motorbikes, except perhaps for leisurely visits to the pub.