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When do we think the Digital Nomad WP will be ready for those currently getting by on short-term visas?


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I've heard it mentioned a few times now, but when's it realistically gonna be available and can anyone just say they write blogs or do SEO for a few clients and get one?

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Came across this piece of information earlier regarding work permits and credit to thaiembassy.com

 

Typical Cases of Digital Nomads and Foreigners Working in Thailand

A digital nomad works on his online shop in a co-working space.

Answer: The digital nomad is allowed to manage his online shop during the duration of his stay in Thailand without a work permit. Even if some of his customers are in Thailand, he is just continuing to do something he was doing before he came to Thailand anyway. However, if his products or market are mainly from Thailand, then YES this is considered to be work and it is a concern.

A website designer offers his services to fellow Digital Nomads in Thailand.

Answer: YES, this clearly works and he should get a work permit for it. This job could have been done by a Thai website designer, the foreigner is competing with Thai workers and so he needs a work permit.

A foreigner sources handicraft products in Thailand and exports them overseas.

Answer: YES, this is work, because the products are taken from Thailand.

A foreigner sits in his apartment and teaches Chinese students online via Skype.

Answer: Officially, it is work, however, it is not the main concern right now, so the authorities allow the foreigner to do this without a work permit. In this case, it will be a matter of the scale of the work and the environment.

 

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Just thinking the importance of work permits because without one you never will be able to claim Social welfare and I would guess that there are a lot of expats that fall in between the cracks due to covid-19 restrictions on Businesses.

Please correct and update any part of the above which is incorrect. thank you

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Published on Thaiger news a short while ago:                                                                                                                                        Thailand proposes digital nomad visa among others to benefit expats, economy

https://thethaiger.com/news/national/thailand-proposes-digital-nomad-visa-among-others-to-benefit-expats-economy

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Interesting to read that article and one of the groups being retirees.

Thailand already has retirees staying long term in Thailand, but the current financial requirements for 1 year extensions of stay are either a monthly income of 65,000 baht, or 800K deposited an a Thai bank, or combination thereof.

So what is this new incentive to allow retirees to stay, one assumes long term in Thailand, that requires an annual income of $40,000 (1,284,400 baht) and must invest $250,000 (8,027,500 baht) in real estate or Thai bonds.

There has to be a significant difference in what Thailand has to offer those regarded as wealthy retiree's and us mere mortal retiree's, but what? A Blue Peter badge perhaps.

As it stands the UK state pension falls some 800,000 baht below that annual income level.
As for the investment threshold, I'm still making finance payments on the car.
 

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I feel one of the biggest challenges for many countries, not just Thailand, is defining what "work" is and where it is performed, especially when you are doing it online.

Purely as an example, if I am living here and all of my clients I work online with only operate in say, Australia, am I "doing" work in Thailand. I am not taking a job of a Thai citizen, none of my income would come from businesses within Thailand, yet the Thai economy does benefit from my spending here.

Effectively I am doing the same as if I was in another room in my house in Australia. Why should I need a work permit? 

Too often, greed comes into it as to who gets money for taxes etc. That is stopping many countries from uniting on this.

 

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5 minutes ago, Smithydog said:

Purely as an example, if I am living here and all of my clients I work online with only operate in say, Australia, am I "doing" work in Thailand. I am not taking a job of a Thai citizen, none of my income would come from businesses within Thailand, yet the Thai economy does benefit from my spending here.

Effectively I am doing the same as if I was in another room in my house in Australia. Why should I need a work permit? 

To add to this, what if the Thai Citizen is a web designer in Thailand with customers in Australia, is the DN  (Digital Nomad) not taking a job from the Thai Citizen?

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6 minutes ago, AdvocatusDiaboli said:

To add to this, what if the Thai Citizen is a web designer in Thailand with customers in Australia, is the DN  (Digital Nomad) not taking a job from the Thai Citizen?

What if the Digital Nomad has existing clients in Australia when they arrive and then get new clients who are in Australia whilst they are in Thailand. Can they work with the existing ones but not the new ones.....aargh....going to have a lie down now, brain sore ha ha

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35 minutes ago, Smithydog said:

What if the Digital Nomad has existing clients in Australia when they arrive and then get new clients who are in Australia whilst they are in Thailand. Can they work with the existing ones but not the new ones.....aargh....going to have a lie down now, brain sore ha ha


and this could be why It will be many years before the Thai Government sorts out and issues a Digital Nomad Permit. 

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3 hours ago, Smithydog said:

I feel one of the biggest challenges for many countries, not just Thailand, is defining what "work" is and where it is performed, especially when you are doing it online.

Purely as an example, if I am living here and all of my clients I work online with only operate in say, Australia, am I "doing" work in Thailand. I am not taking a job of a Thai citizen, none of my income would come from businesses within Thailand, yet the Thai economy does benefit from my spending here.

It's always been a grey area and providing you keep your head down nobody is any the wiser.

One of issues I can foresee with future plans is the question of where the income from such employment is deposited. Overseas or in Thailand. There will obviously be some financial requirement and to obtain a work permit I believe they will insist such funds are paid into a Thai bank as evidence of employment in Thailand.

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On 5/18/2021 at 7:01 PM, Andrew Reeve said:

Just thinking the importance of work permits because without one you never will be able to claim Social welfare and I would guess that there are a lot of expats that fall in between the cracks due to covid-19 restrictions on Businesses.

Please correct and update any part of the above which is incorrect. thank you

As a MD which Social Welfare claims one can make? - You get 0% support from the Thai Gov't which is logical too.

I've not had any benefits of my non-B + WP besides that I was allowed to vaccinate myself like many on a tourist visa as well. So I see I'm paying my Tax + Socials for this :-).

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They are mad not trying to attract as many of the DN's as they possible can. Most of you are young, thrusting and bring a great vibe and spend money in the local economies. Good weather, great food, friendly locals, cheap accomodation and prices and an excellent it infrastructure make it a top destination. If I was in charge I would give a renewable year visa if you put say 200,000 baht in a specially opened Thai bank account for starters , are healthy and non criminal and deposit say the equivalent of 20k baht per month into your account. 

Job done now where do I apply for the job !

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I don't think the Thai government is going to take this digital nomad visa seriously.  They always talk about all these great things they're going to do to attract millions of people to spend money in Thailand and only a small fraction actually come to fruition.  They seem to have their sights set on very wealthy people #1, if anything changes to existing visa offerings, I expect it will cater to the wealthy such as property investment visas for those spending significant amounts of baht.  I'd put my money on Bali to be the successful pioneer for this type of Visa.  Thailand and Vietnam may get them in the future at some point, but I just don't think its a priority right now for their governments.

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33 minutes ago, billybob said:

They are mad not trying to attract as many of the DN's as they possible can. Most of you are young, thrusting and bring a great vibe and spend money in the local economies. Good weather, great food, friendly locals, cheap accomodation and prices and an excellent it infrastructure make it a top destination. If I was in charge I would give a renewable year visa if you put say 200,000 baht in a specially opened Thai bank account for starters , are healthy and non criminal and deposit say the equivalent of 20k baht per month into your account. 

Job done now where do I apply for the job !

If only my work permit didn't need me to have 600k in a thai bank account a year. So expect this number to be way higher also... how do you define work and where earnings are made.

A serious DN would get him or herself legal anyways in my opinion even if this means 4 thais as overhead.

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29 minutes ago, TiT said:

I don't think the Thai government is going to take this digital nomad visa seriously.  They always talk about all these great things they're going to do to attract millions of people to spend money in Thailand and only a small fraction actually come to fruition.  They seem to have their sights set on very wealthy people #1, if anything changes to existing visa offerings, I expect it will cater to the wealthy such as property investment visas for those spending significant amounts of baht.  I'd put my money on Bali to be the successful pioneer for this type of Visa.  Thailand and Vietnam may get them in the future at some point, but I just don't think its a priority right now for their governments.

In 50 years after land can be owned by foreigners and companies can be fully owned by foreigners without special BOI permissions.

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The reality is that around 50 mostly Thai-Chinese families own most of Thailand and it is a rigged market which is hostile to foreign competitors and they make sure they don't get in a cost cutting race to the bottom amongst themselves. They don't give a rats cuss to farang digi-nomads and their requirements because you don't figure anywhere on their radars or concerns. If anything they would regard such a cohort with suspicion and a source of foreign no doubt malign influences !

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4 hours ago, Landmann said:

I bet that Thailand gets a lot of Digital Nomad Visa requests in the future from retirees, expats and even criminals.

For now there's no such visa and I'm not a fan of this visa to exist for the clear reason you point out abuse is around the corner.

There are many fronts where Thailand can still improve on:

- Land Ownership.

- Foreign Company Ownership.

- Labor Laws (get rid of the x thais for working permit, it doesn't contribute to most companies where most companies would benefit from hiring whatever workforce they find suitable for their needs and pay suitable taxes).

- Visa's to become more reasonably priced and procedures transparent, Singapore provides a lead for this in the South East Asia region for this in my opinion and Malaysia isn't too bad either both fully digitalised.

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The only reason the Thai Authorities are looking into a Digital Nomad Visa is so that they can get some of the income and taxes they think that they are missing out on. Otherwise they would be including 'real benefits' for anyone exposing themselves to the vagaries of the Thai Taxation System and the Thai Immigration Dept. 

Obviously they are going to catch those that clearly reside in Thailand and are earning income through their web activities and tourist blogs/vlogs. That is why many of those seriously popular ones have either moved or are planning to move out of Thailand.  But who they are really after, are the people who work on-line while staying in Thailand, but who do not have or need a work permit, because they are paid in another country. They want that income and the associated taxes - pure and simple.

Keep your head down and nose clean - and tell no one that you make good money working online.  And if you have a GF/Wife and you split up badly (as if there is any other way) - get your butt out of there.

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Posted (edited)

There will never be a real Digital Nomad visa in Thailand. There may be schemes that throw in the phrase "Digital Nomads", but they will be primarily aimed at remote employees of large corporations.

The Thai elites, government ministers, and Thai police have no idea what a digital nomad is and, more importantly, they do not care. The deluded farangs "lobbying" for a Digital Nomad visa, and telling everyone about the wonderful "contacts" they are making at the highest levels of local government in Chiang Mai, have even less clue about what their "digital nomad community" actually is and what they need.

Here's the deal: People have been working online while traveling since long before some bright spark coined the phrase "Digital Nomad". Travelers have been working on their own projects for centuries before that again. No country has ever given a damn, they have always categorized them as "tourists".

If you happen to have been smart enough to figure out a way to make a living online, whether working for yourself or someone else, Thailand allows you to have a pretty good standard of living at a good price. Before the junta started monkeying around with the visa rules in 2015, online workers had clustered around Chiang Mai, primarily for the cheap and plentiful housing. This provided a pretty good social scene that allowed online workers to feel less alone, to encourage each other, work on projects together, and hire each other for certain tasks.

The benefit for Chiang Mai was a bit more tourist money coming into the region, before the tsunami of Chinese tourism hit and rendered everything else irrelevant - again, in economic and marketing terms, digital nomads should be seen as just another type of tourist, not an important one but a useful additional stream of income. 

None of this is to put down digital nomads. In general, they make a lot more money that the pensioners over on ThaiVisa who seem to be obsessed with believing they are simply backpackers with laptops, living on money wired to them by their parents. The average digital nomad spends more per month than the average pensioner, but both probably spend less than sex tourists and certainly less per day than two week tourists.

Before the pandemic, there were some extraordinarily talented people working hard to build real businesses. I knew quite a few who were making over a million dollars profit per month. They don't hide what their businesses are but they dressed and acted just like everyone else. That is the culture. We would all rather pile our money into shares or crypto than spend ostentatiously.

The junta eliminating the cheap ($40), easy six month tourist visa, that you could extend to nine months (1,900 baht), and the xenophobic attitude that was then encouraged among the airport Immigration Officers, hammered the digital nomad scene just as it was taking off. It did keep growing, from sheer momentum, but they could have had something so much bigger and more valuable to Thailand.

So, no one needs a Digital Nomad visa. They simply need a return to the pre-junta tourist visa system. The rest will happen all of its own accord, without any government intervention or "community organizers".

Many of us hoped that some other country would see the opportunity (Digital Nomads = a big and growing category of tourist). For a while we thought that Vietnam was a contender to be the world's digital nomad hub, but then their government developed the same xenophobic paranoia as the Thai government.

As the world now re-opens, I reckon there is a real chance that the Thai government may relax their tourist visas back to pre-coup terms again. They won't do it specifically for digital nomads but because it is going to be very hard to get mass tourism going again.

China might not allow its people to travel abroad for leisure for a few years. Westerners, after an initial rush by some to travel this year, will mostly be wary of long distance vacations, especially exotic destinations in poor countries. The consequences of the unprecedented money printing in the US will start to be felt around the world, making everyone a little more reluctant to spend.

So, I expect the Thai government will be more conscious that they are competing with other countries for a smaller pool of tourists. I expect all these countries to become less disdainful of long-term visitors and to adjust their tourist visas accordingly. This will allow the Digital Nomad category to flourish once again in Thailand, now with hundreds of thousands of additional people every year thanks to the Work From Home culture made mainstream by the pandemic.

The model going forward will probably be most digital nomads spending six or nine months of each year in Thailand, while some of the more successful ones under 50 will happily buy Elite Visas for the tax advantages. In my opinion, however, a real digital nomad is someone who rotates through many countries, spending around two or three months in each. To me, that is the whole point of this lifestyle.

 

Edited by SickBuffalo
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Well whilst not on the list, Thailand may be looking at this type of visa. But with all those crying out for it, The current in country digital nomads may not like the requirements that could be put in place. Looking at these countries;

https://www.investopedia.com/countries-offering-digital-nomad-visas-5190861

it shows that, proof of employment and sometimes a monthly wage is a requirement which may be difficult to prove for some.

Pity gambling is illegal in Thailand, we could run a sweepstake on when or if this type of Visa would be put in place.

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