Plans to offer 10 year visas to “rich” foreigners, which would also enable them to own land and work without a work permit, are set to be put to Cabinet for approval.
Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow has said the plans were already approved in principle by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on June 4.
The proposals, which were first mooted back in April, will go before Cabinet as part of a series of plans designed to boost investment into Thailand.
Previously it had been reported that the government planned to attract one million foreigners to become expats in Thailand.
The would-be expats would have healthy bank balances or pension pots and would generate up to one trillion baht for the Thai economy, it was estimated.
The expats would be divided into four groups:
1. ‘Rich’ global citizens
2. ‘Wealthy’ retirees
3. Digital nomads – or professionals working from Thailand
4. Highly skilled professionals
‘Rich’ global citizens would need to be able to prove income of at least $80,000 over the last two years and have $1 million in assets. They would also need to be able to invest at least 16 million baht in property or government bonds.
The ‘wealthy’ retirees are defined as those who are aged 50 or over and who can invest 8 million baht in property or government baht, while also being able to show a minimum annual income of $40,000.
The digital nomads would need to be earning $80,000 for the last two years or $40,000 a year and would be self employed or employed by a company overseas but which are able to use Thailand as a location to work from.
They would be able to ‘work’ in Thailand without needing a work permit. They would also need to show educational qualifications of a master’s degree or higher or at least five years experience in their field.
The final group are the highly skilled professionals SET-listed companies or from a company with an annual income of more than $50 million.
However, it is not clear exactly what ‘land ownership’ for foreigners would mean in reality.
It had previously been suggested that laws similar to the Condo Act of 2008 would be used to allow foreigners to own land plots in housing developments. Leasehold of land upto 50 years were also being considered.
Thai news site Manager reported that the proposals to lure foreigners with 10 year visas and land ownership are part of wider plans designed to boost investment into Thailand.
The plans, backed by the Board of Investment, would also see Thailand become a hub for the electric vehicle industry (EV).
In the report buzzwords such as “Digitalization”, “Decarbonization”, “Decentralization” and “D-risk” were used to describe the plans which would help Thailand reap the benefits of moving towards clean technology.
DPM Supattanapong also touted the country’s good healthcare system as a boon in helping attract up to one million high-income foreigners to buy second homes in Thailand.