New proposals would allow foreigners in Thailand to buy land and work without work permits

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The biggest shake up to rules for foreigners in Thailand regarding working, owning real estate, including land, and immigration has been proposed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

The aim is to stimulate the economy and bring in new investment by attracting high-potential foreigners to Thailand.

The proposals would see foreigners from one of four target groups allowed to work in Thailand without a work permit, buy land, and stay in the country for up to 10 years, providing they can prove financial stability and other factors such as having health insurance.

TAT says it wants to attract up to one million foreigners to Thailand who would become expats or long term residents.

The proposals, which have already been presented to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha and are being considered for approval by the government, will target four groups of foreigners:

  • The wealthy
  • Digital nomads or those who want to work from Thailand for foreign companies
  • Foreign retirees with pensions
  • Those with skills or expertise in a specific field, business, industry, technology, etc

TAT says the economic benefits from the proposals would sizeable and anticipates and extra one trillion baht for the Thai economy.

It says the proposals could bring in up to 400,000 skilled working professionals to Thailand, who could generate 500 billion baht in tax revenue alone for the state.

A further 800 billion baht will be generated from wealthy individuals, investors and foreign retirees who will be offered incentives to invest in property, among other things.

The four groups will also be offered long term residency visas, the proposed requirements for which are as follows:

Group 1: The Wealthy

Under the proposals, foreigners from this group would have a ‘high’ income, are likely to be frequent travellers and have assets all over the world. There will be no age limit to apply, unlike the current ‘retirement visa’, where applicants need to be at least 50 years old.

  • Invest a minimum of USD 500,000 in Thai government bonds, foreign direct investment or real estate and have a minimum annual personal income of USD 80,000 in the past 2 years and assets of a minimum of $1 million.

    • Have health insurance from an accredited insurer that covers $100,000 or more of medical expenses for the duration of your visa.

Evidence to qualify for visa:

  • Evidence of investment in Thailand.
  • Proof of personal income such as a salary certificate or pension plan from a foreign authority.
  • Certificate of financial status from the bank.

Benefits:

  • Visa validity for 10 year
  • Granted special permission to work without a work permit. (Special privileges to work in Thailand, such as a lecturer or consultant for up to 20 hours per week)
  • Income tax exemption for income from abroad. (Including imported income in the same tax year)
  • Personal income tax is charged on income in Thailand at a flat rate of 17%.
  • Long-term ownership/lease rights on property and land

Group 2: Digital Nomads/Foreign Workers

The proposal outlines this group as people who want to work from remotely from Thailand, or so-called ‘digital nomads’. They must be able to show a regular income from overseas. Companies will also be invited to send employees to work from Thailand under the scheme.

Evidence to qualify for visa:

  • Applicants will need to have a minimum personal income (salary, investment income, etc.) of at least $80,000 per year for the past 2 years or $40,000 per year with a master’s degree or above/intellectual property ownership. / received Series A funding.
  • At least 5 years working experience.
  • Have health insurance from an accredited insurance company and cover $100,000 or more of medical expenses for the duration of your visa.
  • For companies – they must be listed on the stock exchange or a private company that has been operating for at least a year and has a total income of 50 million US dollars over the past 3 years.

Benefits:

  • Visa validity 10 years
  • Permission to work without a work permit. (Have special privileges to work in Thailand such as a lecturer or a facilitator for a maximum of 20 hours per week).
  • Income tax exemption for income from abroad. (Including imported income in the same tax year)
  • Personal income tax is charged on income in Thailand at a flat rate of 17%.
  • Right of ownership / long-term lease of real estate (including land)

Group 3: Foreign retirees

The proposals state this group will be ged 50 years and over and has a stable regular retirement income from abroad, such as a pension.

To qualify, applicants would need to make a USD 250,000 investment in to Thailand, be it in the form of purchasing Thai government bonds or buying real estate.

Applicants must also have a minimum annual income of $40,000 and health insurance from an accredited insurance company that covers $100,000 or more of medical care for the duration of the visa.

Evidence to qualify for visa:

  • Evidence of investment in Thailand  as per the conditions stated above.
  • Evidence of receiving pension for the duration of the visa from any pension fund.
  • Evidence of receiving pension for the duration of the visa from any state pension fund, accredited insurance company, a company established for more than 10 years.

Benefits:

  • Visa validity 10 years
  • Permission to work without a work permit needs. (Have special privileges to work in Thailand such as a lecturer or a consultant for a maximum of 20 hours per week)
  • Income tax exemption for income from abroad. (Including imported income in the same tax year)
  • Personal income tax is charged on income in Thailand at a flat rate of 17%.
  • Right of ownership / long-term lease of real estate (including land).

Group 4: Skilled workers

This group will be highly skilled individuals who will come to work in Thailand for companies in targeted industries as stated in the Enhancement of Competitiveness of the Country for Targeted Industries Act, B.E. 2560, or being an expert or researcher who will work in a government agency or become a university professor. Other examples would be specialist engineers or manufacturing experts taking up roles at companies in Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor.

Evidence to qualify for visa:

  • Have a personal income (salary, investment income, etc.) of $80,000 per year in the past 2 years or $40,000 per year, or hold a master’s degree or higher and have at least 5 years work experience in the target industry.
  • At least 5 years working experience.
  • Have health insurance from an accredited insurer and cover $100,000 or more of medical expenses for the duration of your visa.
  • Companies registered in foreign countries or overseas private companies.
  • Has been in business for at least 3 years.
  • Have gross income > $50,000 in the last 3 years.
  • Have more than 250 employees, or have experience working in research or teaching

Benefits:

  • Visa validity 10 years.
  • Permission to work without a work permit needs.
  • Personal income tax is charged on income in Thailand at a flat rate of 17%.
  • Right of ownership/long-term lease of real estate (including
    land)

 

 

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