I've been reading ajarn.com for kind of a long time, but never posted in or read the forums before now, so I thought I'de go ahead and do that.
I left the US for the first time in my early 20's to take one of those evil jobs in the outsourced call center industry in India. Turned out really well for me.
I lived in Jaipur, in the middle of the Rajasthani dessert, and after a couple of years was pretty burned out with the camels, heaps of burning rubbish, 1 legged beggar kids, etc., and the 24 year old megolomaniac Indian owner of my company.
So, in an almost noble effort to keep me happy (and to buy some fake handbags to bakshish our potential European customers, they sent me off for a week long vacation in Thailand with a couple grand.
I didn't go back.
I taught most of the time that I was there. For a while, in some place called "Thai business college", but I don't think that's ACTUALLY how the name translates, and then for a while at Nontaburi Huawang, which was much closer to my place.
After I got married, and realized that the 20 or so k baht I was making (because it was really impossible for me to travel far away from Don Mueng) wasn't going to swing it, I started the insane visa process for my wife to come back to the states with me.
So here we are, a couple of years later. Surprisingly still together, with her working and helping me with the bills, despite alot of naysaying and contrarian ideology. She was though, a graduate of St. Johns university and could do ok anywhere.
So I'm a year out from getting my Juris Doctorate. I'm planning on practicing immigration law.
I originally had a degree in education, but went this direction with the express plan of going back to Thailand, after having been really put through the ringer with the whole visa process.
Not on any kind of humanitarian relief project mind you, but I can smell a market when it presents itself.
So I have some general questions about that, and if it doesn't work out, I'll probably try to start teaching again in the next year or two, with state certification from back here, and hopefully get something in an intl. school or something. Or get raped by an agency. Sera.
But I don't want to stay in the US much longer. The answer that I give to the never-ending question about why, is that it's a WHOLE lot easier to be a foreigner in a foreign country than the one you were born in.
So I was wondering if folks could shoot me some advice?
I'm going to be well in the hole, financiall when I finish my jd, so I'm not going to be coming over with a ton of money.
What I'll probably have is 5-7k maximum.
I already own a condo in Don Mueng. Paid for, and all that. My wife has some land in Roi-Et, also. So accomadations are set.
I'll have the jd, and I'm already (on student status) a member of the federal bar association. So I'll be able to practice immigration law, tax law, intl. trade law, etc.
What I'de like to do is open up a small office on or near wireless road, close to the US embassy. Nothing fancy, and preferably something REALLY cheap, that I can just throw a desk up in.
Do the immigration lawyer thing for about a third of the normal costs. Do consultations to explain the process for maybe 1k baht per pop. I feel really sure that if I can legally pull this off in los, I'll be able to rake in quite a bit of money, and since I have a place there, and would rather be there than here, it makes alot of sense to me.
So that's where my questions come in.
I know that you can open a company and get a visa if you invest 50k US$ or so in Thailand.
There's no way that's going to happen. No way, no how. Even if I had access to that kind of money, which I don't, I wouldn't do it.
And I've heard all the things about getting 49 or 51% of the shares in 49 or 51 different locals names, etc.
I'm not really all that comfortable with it.
Is there an easier way I can do this? Can someone hire me as a consultant? Do I have a small enough niche to get a visa?
My father in law has a construction company, and a bit of money by local standards. My brother is shady and has a warehouse in bkk and one in hokaido where he cuts big trucks and ships them over to Thailand.
So I'm sure if I had to, I could ask them to help me. But they're all insane, and pretty much hate me because I'm not chinese (wife is jin/lao).
I know I'm asking really general questions, but I thought more experienced heads might have the answers for me.
How do I legally establish the office so I won't get in trouble, but can keep the majority of the profits for myself?
Can I get a visa for this sort of thing?
Anyone have a basic idea about the rent for a small 2 room (or 1 that can be divided) office space in the area? No frills, no bells or whistles?
Any market with other westerners for tax law/trade law?
As far as the business end of things, I think between my wife and I we'de manage ok. And I'm pretty confident about my ability to get customers. If I would have been set up when we were trying to get my wifes visa, I could have gotten all the clients I want.
But as far as getting things legally set up, I'm pretty clueless, and need to get some idea of what I'll have to do here pretty soon.
So that's it. If it doesn't pan out, I'll either stay here and work for a while, or come back over and teach. Anything but these winters!
If you all have any advice, general or specific, I would be really greatful.
Check out this website: www.sunbeltasia.com.
I think they have a bit of info that could help, or at least point you in the right direction.
khao suay rodney, khao suay
ThaiVisa is the place to go! As Mango said Sunbelt Asia is pretty good, but if you post your question on TV you'll get his answers AS WELL as others!
Basically you can't (as far as I know) own more than 49% of a business here, but you DON'T need the money that's quoted per se (or Thai staff) although this might mean you can't get a one year extension on your Visa (it seems to effect the Visa rather than the WP most of them). This is kind of the abridged version (and please take it with a pinch of salt) but TV should definitely be able to help you in regards to your questions!
You kind of need a Non-imm B (although it might be better to get a Non-imm O on the strength of marriage, and then extend it and put the WP on top in case you don't have the capital/Thai staff or aren't making the minimum wage!) and a WP if you're going to be actively working, if you ain't an extended Non-imm O will suffice!
Again though check with the experts on TV!
There's plenty of threads about setting up a business etc. but this is a recent one:
Riddle me this brother can you handle it
Your style to my style you can't hold a candle to it
Equinox symmetry and the balance is right
Smokin' and drinkin' on a Tuesday night
It's not how you play the game it's how you win it
I cheat and steal and sin and I'm a cynic
Ok, thanks alot for both of your replies . . Really appreciate it.
So just a general question that's pretty lame -
Has the teaching industry changed significantly in Thailand during the last three years or so?
Are people expecting much of any change in the next year, or anytime soon?
Bangkok pretty well taught me a lesson about not having a good "B" plan, so I want to make sure that I can teach if my lofty aspiration ends up being a bunch of nonsense.
If nothing else, I'll probably teach in the evenings or weekends somewhere just to supplement my income until I can get up and running.
I had heard that they placed tighter restrictions on teaching, but almost doubt that can be very true, all things considered (I mean the demand/supply/pay).
Is it relatively easy to land a decent gig these days?
Sorry again, I know those are lame questions, but just kind of dipping my toe in the water a bit.
This may be a lame answer (you'll get all kinds of answers on thaivisa.com, so sort them out).
The Thai educational system seems to value earned degrees so much that having a post-graduate degree (such as a three-year J.D.) might be a ticket into a uni or rajabat that a mere bachelor's degree wouldn't get. Not that you'd be teaching immigration law.
For example, a former mate gets great teaching gigs partly because he has a doctorate in Buddhism, although he doesn't teach that.
"The times I've been mistaken, it's impossible to say" - by the Moody Blues
You should also try this lot. http://www.siam-legal.com
I personally found Sunbelt Asia to be unprofessional and a bit full of themselves, whereas Siam Legal had a much beter attitude and for me, knew the right people in the right places. They will also sort you out with a limited company pretty easily.
Sanooktiger, you now have your own thread in the Paperwork Forum...
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Thanks alot for the responses I got from everyone. . .
I actually posted something on Thaivisa.com, and thought the responses I got there were relatively lame.
What I'm really wanting to do is get around the investment requirements. If I register a company in the US, and have my wife register a company there, do you think that my US company can act as a vendor for her, and I can just sit around handling visa paperwork that way?
I don't care what these money hounds say about alot of this. You can't teach English in Thailand without a work permit, and a bachelors degree. But so many do. My brother in law cuts cars in Hokaido and ships them back to his warehouse in Bkk.
I'de imagine that where there's a will, and a few greased wheels, there's a way.
I'm just looking out for the way in advance, so if anyone has any specific suggestions . . .