The Cabinet in Thailand just approved the creation of a 10-year visa for wealthy foreigners or digital nomads, the target demographic the government has focused on as the solution to the lack of tourism due to Covid-19. They have reckoned that a few high-quality (read: “big spending”) tourists could outweigh scores of the undesirable budget-conscious tourists that flocked to Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic.
A government spokesperson announced today that the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of the Interior are already working on drafting the regulations for a long-term visa for highly skilled digital nomads and rich expats to stay in Thailand long-term. They say that luring these high-quality tourists will drive economic and investment stimulus measures.
The 10-year visa is intended to attract wealthy travellers from 4 categories that have been the linchpin of the government’s tourism efforts for the last several months:
- Digital nomads – professionals working remotely online
- highly skilled professionals that can advance Thailand with their skills (and salaries)
- wealthy global citizens (government officials predicted at one point these tourists would spend 1 million baht per trip)
- wealthy pensioners – retired rich people with plenty of disposable income coming in each month
While the eligibility rules are still being nailed down exactly, they have announced some promising details on pricing. The visa will be given for 5 years first at a cost of 10,000 baht per year and can then be extended another 5 years. At a total 10 year cost of 100,000 baht, it is significantly cheaper than the current long-term visa options of the Thai Elite Visa program where a 5-year visa is 600,000 baht, a 10-year visa is 1 million baht, and a 20-year visa is 2.4 million baht including its annual fees, for some reason quite a bit more expensive than just buying two 10 year visas.
The rest of the regulations are also still being worked out, but the Ministry of Labour assures that foreigners who obtain this visa will be able to begin work immediately upon landing in Thailand and will not have to wait for their work permit application to be completed and for a work permit to be issued. Once the rest of the rules are fully set up comet the Ministries will make a formal announcement and the new visa can go live.
People who wish to begin the application process for the new 10-year visa can submit their documentation and get qualification certificates at their nearest Thai embassy or consulate, or, if they are already in Thailand, at the Thai Board of Investment at Chamchuri Square in Bangkok.
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