Expat life in 1990: No work permits, but watch out for the tax clearance office

Back in 1990 - Ajarn.com, June 13, 2004
Ajarn.com has a great article that explains exactly what it was like to live and work in Thailand in 1990--the convoluted process at immigration, the fact that no one could get a work permit, the 'tax clearance' procedure at Revenue Department, and the truly terrible problems with cross-town travel before the expressway, Skytrain, and meter taxis:

...The old hands will shudder to recall the dreaded trips to the Bangkok immigration when the most basic of visa extensions would require you to go in three separate rooms on three different floors. You started off on the ground floor, then it was off to room 302 to join a large nervous-looking group of visa applicants all shifting uneasily on straggly rows of plastic chairs.
Everyone waiting for that magical moment when the officer with all the medals would beckon you to his desk. There was no queuing system. There was no losing your temper but there were all sorts of communication problems. The immigration officer didn't speak a word of English, but that was your problem not his...
...But if the thought of a journey to the Immigration or the Labor Department had you quaking with fear, nothing came close to the nightmare of the tax clearance office. Tax clearance? What the hell is that I hear you cry? Well, the system was mercifully abolished in about 1991 but that didn't stop me needing to perform the duty on three occasions.
Basically for anyone who stayed in the kingdom longer than 60 days either working or as a long stay tourist, you had to show the immigration officer at your departure point that you had either not been working or had been working and paid your taxes like a good honest citizen...
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