Phuket proposes visa and work permit scheme for digital nomads in Thailand

Stock photo by Alizée Baudez for Unsplash

Phuket officials are pushing for a visa scheme for so-called “digital nomads” who want to live or stay in Thailand while working remotely. Under the proposed Phuket X Community for Digital NOMADs Visa, eligible foreigners would be offered a work permit and a stay on the island province for six months to a year.

The visa scheme would also allow foreigners to open a savings account and buy health insurance.

The visa proposal was submitted to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and to the Foreign Affairs Minister by the President of Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation, Rawat Areerob. The president says that many digital nomads spend a long time in a foreign country and earn a high income, adding that the foreigners could help stimulate tourism on the island and boost the economy.

“Digital nomads are foreign tourists working at the world’s leading companies in the fields of digital, IT, and internet. They are a group of people who live, travel, and work at the same time, using the internet as the main tool for earning money.”

He added that some digital nomads run their own businesses or work independently on a freelance or contract basis, like programmers, web designers, graphic designers. Some foreigners staying long term in Thailand make money through cryptocurrency trading, freelance writing and blogging, and teaching English online for companies based overseas like VIP Kid and Palfish.

The tourism industry in Phuket was hit hard during the pandemic. By offering a visa and work permit to digital nomads, Rawat says the island will no longer be so dependent on seasonal tourists. He added that more digital nomads on the island could also lead to new business opportunities, like co-working spaces, cafes, and restaurants.

SOURCES: Phuket News | Phuket Info Centre

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