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New Smart Visa rules in the works for digital nomads in Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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New Smart Visa rules in the works for digital nomads in Thailand | The Thaiger
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Digital nomads in Thailand might soon be able to apply for the Smart Visa, allowing an up to 4 years stay without a work permit. The Board of Investment, or BOI, is proposing changes to the visa requirements to allow foreign freelancers to apply for the Smart Visa. The rules have already been approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The next step is Cabinet approval.

It’s really good news for foreign freelancers who have needed to get creative when it comes to legally staying in the country. Before the pandemic, many did border runs every few months, going from tourist visa to tourist visa. Now that borders are closed, some are on tourist visas that have been extended in the country due to the pandemic. Others are on volunteer visas. Some have even paid thousands of baht and signed up for classes just to get on an education visa to stay in the country.

Under the proposal by the BOI, those currently in Thailand on a tourist visa would be able to transfer to a Smart Visa. To apply for the visa, applicants need to have an employment contract with a foreign firm for at least 6 months as well as proof of qualifications and experience.

BOI deputy secretary general Narit Therdsteerasukdi says opening the Smart Visa to foreign freelancers will draw in more talent from overseas.

“The influx of talent will create a talent pool in the country.”

The Smart Visa was launched in February 2018 and was “designed to enhance Thailand’s attractiveness in drawing science and technology experts, senior executives, investors and startups.” Since then, only 514 foreigners have been granted the Smart Visa.

Along with allowing foreign freelancers to apply, the BOI also wants to loosen requirements to allow more executives, investors and startup entrepreneurs as well as science and technology experts to apply.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    They are starting to realise foreigners are not as desperate to return to Thailand as they thought.
    But they would rather not have the bar flys, and Go Go dance gazers.
    No they want: to issue a Smart visa to draw in foreign talent from overseas.
    Thais are desperately short of Smarts, and talent.
    Anyone ever seen a Thai read a map? They can only count to ten because then they run out of fingers.

    • Avatar

      Meoff

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 4:58 pm

      Have you ever suggested a good and smart idea to a Thai only for them to ignore it?

      • Avatar

        Rasputin

        Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm

        I’ve got 4 ‘smart’ suggestions for Thais:
        #1 take driving lessons
        #2 if you drink don’t drive
        #3 Don’t drive faster than your brain can function
        #4 Compel the police to enforce the existing rules

        They will kill thousands LESS of each other every year, now that’s SMART

  2. Avatar

    Stopbanning

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    why do I keep getting banned. My comments follow the rules.

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      we’ve never banned any of your comments.

  3. Avatar

    Liam

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:23 pm

    I’m confused. A freelance visa that requires an employment contract from a company?! Sounds like someone hasn’t understood what freelance means! Unless they want a freelancer to just draft their own employment contract for themselves ?

    • Avatar

      Senechal

      Monday, December 21, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      And that “someone” is the writer of this article.

  4. Avatar

    Not Moby

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Freelancers, by definition, are not employees. Requiring letters of employment will be an obstacle for anyone truly looking to be legal. Leave it to Thailand to take the smart out of a Smart Visa.

    • Avatar

      Ian

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Toby you make me laugh keep it up,meoff it’s because it’s not thier idea,the only smart thing is to lift quarantine then this country will slowly get back and sort out visa paperwork no wonder the rain forests are depleting immigration demand for paper

    • Avatar

      Mister Stretch

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 6:55 pm

      Glad I wasn’t the only one that noticed that.

      Remote workers is what Thai government officials think they are going to attract, not freelancers. We freelancers work on multiple projects for multiple companies or organizations. I’ve not ever met a freelancer with a 6-month contract.

      And who vets their “qualifications and experience”? Hopefully, not a Thai. They wouldn’t understand half of what most freelancers do.

  5. Avatar

    Ian

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    Toby you make me laugh keep it up,meoff it’s because it’s not thier idea,the only smart thing is to lift quarantine then this country will slowly get back and sort out visa paperwork no wonder the rain forests are depleting immigration demand for paper

  6. Avatar

    Mark

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    Smart visa applications designed and created by stupid people. Many other neighbouring countries offer much more attractive Ts and Cs.

  7. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 3:20 am

    When do people realize that even property ownership in Thailand does not guarantee ability to come to the country? Thai visa system is a mess. It could be a good thing that Covid exposed all the nonsense

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      Where, exactly, does “property ownership … guarantee ability to come to the country”?

      (answers on the head of an extremely small pin to …..)

      • Avatar

        Mel Burn

        Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm

        Why don’t you learn to google and find out how many countries will give you _citizenship_ for as little as $250K investment in property? My neighbor in Bangkok has a million dollar condo and was not able to return to Thailand so far.

  8. Avatar

    albert zweistein

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 4:12 am

    Hub for freelancers.

  9. Avatar

    farangang

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 6:08 am

    “an employment contract with a foreign firm for at least 6 months” is something freelancers do not and cannot have by definition of “freelancer”. There will be a lot of fake contracts going around.

    • Avatar

      Preesy Chepuce

      Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      IT sounds like those “umbrella companies”, but I think they just mean that they want you to show you have at least one client outside the country, and something like a degree in something vaguely computery or technical. It’s sensible relaxation of rules that will benefit Thais in the long run.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      I doubt there’ll be many “fake contracts” as even if you got away with them, which is unlikely, you’d still be paying tax on your minimum 200,000 baht per month salary.

      Whatever else it may be, this isn’t a visa for the kee-nok farang Photoshop brigade.

  10. Avatar

    James Pate

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 6:12 am

    514 smart visas granted. I wonder how many applied. It would be interesting to see the rate of success. 6 months contract is not freelancing. I guess the real digital nomads are smart enough not to need a smart visa and would prefer not to submit their data to the gov’t.

  11. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    Apart from not having to do 90 day reports or needing a re-entry permit, and spouses and children not needing work permits, I can’t see much attraction for more than a very few, at a cost of 10,000 baht per year plus tax on earnings.

    There are four categories, all of which need to be employed in one of ten “targeted industries” which are:

    Next-Generation Automotive
    Smart Electronics
    Affluent, Medical and Wellness Tourism
    Agriculture and Biotechnology
    Food for the Future
    Automation and Robotics
    Aviation and Logistics
    Biofuels and Biochemicals
    Digital
    Medical Hub
    Alternative Dispute Resolution
    Human Resource Development in Science and Technology
    Environmental Management and Renewable Energy

    The four categories are:

    SMART Talent (T) Visa, for science and technology experts who earn 200,000 baht per month.

    SMART Investor (I) Visa for investors who make a direct investment of 20 million baht into companies that use technology in their manufacturing process or deliver services.

    SMART Executive (E) Visa for senior managers that have at least a Bachelor’s degree, ten years work experience, and are earning a minimum of 200,000 baht per month.

    SMART Startup Visa (S)for entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Thailand. To be eligible for this visa, you must deposit 600,000 baht in Thailand, have health insurance, and set up a company in one of the ten targeted industries within your first year.

    The SMART T, I and E visas are valid for up to four years, the S visa for only two.

    I’m not sure where the “really good news for foreign freelancers” comes in as they’d have to be regularly employed and declare their earnings, and pay tax on it which if they’ve been doing “border runs every few months, going from tourist visa to tourist visa … on volunteer visas … even paid thousands of baht and signed up for classes just to get on an education visa to stay in the country” they’ve avoided before.

  12. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    As with so many other proposals, “why not”, but the numbers who are eligible are pretty limited.

    I can’t see it actually attracting anyone at all of itself, but for people who are eligible and either already here on a work permit or who would have been coming here on a work permit, in one of those industries, it’s a better option than a “normal” work permit but not much beyond that.

    For “freelancers”? Like others, I can’t follow the oxymoron of how you can be contracted and a freelancer.

  13. Avatar

    freelancer

    Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 8:41 am

    Just allow foreigners to apply for self-employment like Thais do, maybe add some kind of “farang” extra/minimum monthly charge and be done with it.

    Most people I know would be happy to pay their taxes in Thailand and stop with all this nonsense for once.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Thailand

Australian man wanted for allegedly sexually abusing children in Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Australian man wanted for allegedly sexually abusing children in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sydney Morning Herald

A 44 year old Australian man is wanted by Thai police for allegedly sexually abusing children in Thailand. Adam James Fox financially supported some migrant children in poverty stricken areas and allegedly sexually abused them.

Adam James Fox is wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting or abusing at least 3 Burmese boys, all under 15 years old, at his home in Tak’s Mae Sot district near the Myanmar border.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Adam has claimed the accusations are a “set up.” The Herald notes there is an explicit video allegedly involving Adam and a boy as well as messages that go into detail about sexual abuse.

Reports of alleged sexual abuse came in after a local school principal noticed some of the boys had been absent from class, according to human trafficking investigator Daniel Isherwood.

“All children were interviewed by local social workers from a multidisciplinary team. I can confirm serious sexual abuse was reported, including ongoing sexual violation and indecencies. Boys also report being photographed nude and having access to drugs.”

Reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald obtained messages sent by Adam back in November on the messaging app Line. In a message about sexual acts with children, the Herald says Adam wrote “And I love it… And no one can do anything about it.”

In another message, the Herald says Adam wrote about giving a boy methamphetamine and heroin, then sexually abusing him. He allegedly wrote in a message that he filmed the acts and posted it on the “dark web.”

The Herald says reporters were able to contact Adam. They say Adam confirmed that he wrote the messages, but claimed he was angry and “didn’t mean what he wrote.”

“All right, I was an idiot to say that but, man, there’s plenty of other things I said. I threatened to blow up the court building. I have been flipping out.”

A local child welfare organisation reports that there is also a video of a child masturbating and Adam participating. Adam told the Herald that there is a video of a child masturbating, but Adam says his back was turned and the video was a set up.

The migrant boys who Adam allegedly abused live in poverty stricken areas. Adam says he was supporting their education and well being. According to local authorities, he paid a victim’s mother 4,500 baht per month.

The Royal Thai Police first charged Adam early last year. He was released on bail, but failed to show up to his court date in December. Adam posted a video online saying he had bribed people, including government workers. The Herald says Adam is on the run in Bangkok.

“Corruption in Thailand is at all levels and with enough money you can get people to give you whatever you want, whatever you need.”

SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald

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Thailand

Disease control measures ease up in Samut Sakhon

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Disease control measures ease up in Samut Sakhon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: NNT

Disease control restrictions are easing up in Samut Sakhon. The coastal fishing province that has been under “maximum control” since last month’s Covid-19 outbreak at a major seafood market in the province’s Mahachai area.

Salons and barber shops are now allowed to open from 6am to 9pm in all districts of Samut Sakhon, but services are limited to hair cutting, dressing, and washing. Manicures, pedicures and shaving services are still prohibited. Each customer can only stay in the shop for only 2 hours and no queuing is allowed inside the salon or barber shop.

Restaurants and cafes are allowed to open, except for those in some sub districts of Muang District…

  • Thai Sai
  • Mahachai
  • Krok Krak
  • Tha Chalom
  • Nadee
  • Bang Ya Phraek
  • Khok Kham
  • Tha Chin

Restaurants and cafes can offer customers the dine-in services from 6am to 9pm. Takeaway services are allowed after 9pm. Other businesses including sports complexes, playgrounds, educational institutions, boxing gyms, internet cafes, fishing ponds, and cinemas are still closed.

SOURCE: NNT

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Thailand

Police say at least 2 people to be arrested in Bangkok bomb attack – UPDATE

The Thaiger

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Police say at least 2 people to be arrested in Bangkok bomb attack – UPDATE | The Thaiger

Police say they will issue arrest warrants for at least 2 people in connection to yesterday’s bomb attackin Bangkok. According to Thai PBS World, the people are suspected of throwing a ping pong bomb into a group of police officers in front of the Chamchuri shopping centre that injured 3 policemen and 1 reporter. But previous reports by Khaosod English say the bomb attack saw only 2 policemen injured out of a total of 4.

Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, says it is believed that the perpetrators threw the bomb from a vehicle on the flyover heading towards Hua Lampong railway station. Police say they found nails, wire and black electrical tape at the scene of the explosion.

The attack occurred at 6pm, during a pro-democracy rally over the government’s enforcement of the lesé majeste law, which has seen over 43 people arrested, including students, since November. Just last week, a Thammsat University student was arrested in his dorm room over lese majeste charges. Ironically, the reason for his arrest was reportedly due to his calling for such a law to be abolished.

Earlier today, a group of pro-democracy protesters and Ratsadon guards rallied in front of the Internal Security Operations Command head office in Dusit district, demanding for the release one of the guards, who has been missing since last night.

ISOC spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng responded to the claims by saying that ISOC had nothing to do with Mongkol’s disappearance because it is “not responsible for maintaining peace and order in the city.”

Now, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have reported that that Mongkol has been released in the Bangpoo area. Mongkol and his lawyer went to notify the police at the Muang district police station and say that Mongkol will be sent for a physical and psychological evaluation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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