LTR visa lures just 2,920 applicants in four months
Despite claims of being able to lure one million expats in five years – which averages to 200,000 a year, or just under 17,000 per month – the actual figures in the first few months have fallen flat. Thailand’s new long-term resident (LTR) visa has attracted almost 3,000 foreign applicants in the four months since its introduction, according to a government spokesperson.
The 10-year, multi-entry visa was designed to lure wealthy and skilled foreigners to the country. The visa was introduced on November 1 last year as part of the government’s push to attract talented foreigners and multinational companies to Thailand.
Between November 1 and February 28 this year, the Board of Investment (BOI) received 2,920 applications for LTR visas. The largest group of applicants was from Europe, with 940 individuals applying. The US and China were the second and third largest sources of applications, with 517 and 325 individuals applying respectively.
Of the total number of applicants, 1,011 were retirees, 771 wanted to work in Thailand, 553 were dependants, and 390 were skilled individuals.
While Thailand has been proclaiming its winning strategy of attracting the affluent elite, who they estimate will drop one million baht each into the economy, only 195 of the applicants were wealthy people.
The LTR visa is expected to boost Thailand’s economy, as it will encourage foreign investment and make it easier for multinationals to conduct business in the country. The visa allows foreigners to stay in Thailand for up to 10 years and allows them to enter and leave the country as often as they like. It also grants them access to certain privileges, such as the right to purchase a condominium and the ability to open a bank account.
According to the government spokesperson, offering the LTR visa to skilled foreign individuals and multinational companies would not only boost the economy, but would make Thailand more competitive in the global arena. It would also bring advantages to the Thai workforce, offering good jobs and potential for expanding knowledge and opportunity.
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok last November, Thailand made a strong pitch to attract multinational corporations. That plan does seem to be faring better than the individual LTR visa targets.
The BOI has approved over 500 multinational companies to establish regional headquarters in Thailand. This has generated about 13 billion baht of investment into the economy. The top five home countries of these international companies in Thailand are Japan, the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, and France.
Well-known companies such as Agoda, Ajinomoto, Alstom, Arcelik Hitachi, Huawei Technologies, Nippon Steel, Nissin Foods, and Toyota Motor have all chosen to open operations in Thailand.
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