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The new Smart Visa and digital nomads

Tim Newton

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PHOTO: neverendingvoyage.com

The new Smart Visa might be a visa solution for some, but not all, of the ‘digital nomads’ that have been become ubiquitous in Thailand, from all over the world. Whereas the young professionals might have taken off around the world on a break between their schooling and the start of their professional careers, now they’re taking their professional careers along with them and logging in to their job remotely from some far flung cafe overlooking rice paddies in Chiang Mai for a beach in Phuket.

Digital nomads come in all shapes and sizes, professions and ages. In common will be their laptop and all their accessories and spare batteries spread over a table in a cafe offering free wi-fi. They can be backpackers-with-a-laptop or high-end executives making squillions by playing the stock and financial markets.

Cafes don’t particularly like the digital nomads because they buy one coffee and sit, taking up a table, for hours whilst they log in and do whatever they do. The new trend of co-working spaces are also a popular temporary office for the digital nomad.

Here’s the story of one young Australian digital nomad, Chris, with his top six destinations in Thailand for the digital nomad life.

Here are the most popular professions for the digital nomad.

  • Website or App Development
  • eCommerce Entrepreneurship
  • Online marketing
  • Infopreneurship, blogging & affiliate marketing
  • Copywriting / Content writing and production
  • Web, UI and graphic design
  • Coaching & consulting
  • Software entrepreneurship

There are also professional bloggers and travel writers who gain a social media following and create enough audience to attract advertisers and product endorsements.

Up to now, they’ve usually just played the Tourist Visa game and do the visa runs and border crossings to stay in the Kingdom.

But, will the new Smart Visa be of any assistance to them?

According to the scant information on the new Smart Visa, it will apply to a fairly narrow band of skill sets Thai authorities want to attract – IT, ‘tech’ industries, health. The visa has also been designed to allow investors to be able to work and live in the Kingdom. The precise list and aunts of investment required have not been made clear at this stage. According to the information we do have, applicants for the new Smart Visa will need to prove a monthly income of 200,000 baht per month, probably more than most digital nomads make.

Bottomline: Consult your Thai Embassy or Thai immigration office before applying. And we’ll keep you up to date with the requirements of the new Smart Visa when they become avialable.

Here’s some more information and resources for digital nomads from the neverendingvoyage.com HERE.

- Tim Newton

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,200 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 360 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and now produces digital media for The Thaiger - Website, Radio, TV, Instagram and Facebook.

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Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep housing protests ramping up for August

The Thaiger & The Nation

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The protests against the construction of the Thai judge’s residences on the slopes of Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai has gone quiet over the past month. That’s all about to change.

Activists from leading non-governmental organisations from eight northern provinces will next month join a massive protest against the special housing for judges on Doi Suthep.

The Nation reports that Thirasak Roopsuwan, a coordinator of the Doi Suthep Forest Reclamation Network, said on Saturday that the network has sought help from leading NGOs in eight northern provinces and they have agreed to join a mass rally next month. Thirasak said the network and the NGOs from eight northern provinces would pursue the enforcement of an agreement earlier reached between Chiang Mai people and a government committee to dismantle 45 residences and nine apartment buildings built on forestland on Doi Suthep. The committee had reached the resolution amid angry protests by Chiang Mai residents that embarrassed the Appeals Court Region 5.

According to the settlement, the Appeals Court Region 5 was supposed to return the land plot of around 147 rai (23.5 hectares) to the Crown Property Bureau by June 18. But the Doi Suthep Forest Reclamation Network later found that the court had not honoured the agreement and let its officials move in to live in the nine apartment buildings.

The network had initially planned a mass protest at the end of last month but converted the demonstration into a prayer meeting for the 13 young footballers who were then trapped inside the Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai. Thirasak said his network would from now on communicate with the public on three official channels to avoid confusion.

They are www.welovedoisuthep.com website, a Facebook page of www.facebook.com/lovedoisuthep and a Line account of @welovedoisuthep.

Despite claims that the land plot of around 147 rai (23.5 hectares) in total had been acquired legally, local residents have cried “foul” over the project, which is worth almost 1 billion baht. Locals have called for demolition of parts of the residences, which they view as encroaching upon pristine forest and natural waterways on the mountain. Chiang Mai and other locals in the North also claim the mountain to be a spiritual place, as it is one of the seven “Chai Mongkol” – an auspicious element for victory – when King Meng Rai built the city over 700 years ago.

STORY: The Nation

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Chiang Mai

86 billion baht budget set for Chiang Mai light rail system

The Thaiger

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A green light for a go ahead of Chiang Mai’s planned light railway transit system has been issued by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).

Chiang Mai City Life is reporting that, following an initial approval for the project back in August 2017, the MRTA has finally given the green light to start the formal planning and construction of a light railway in Chiang Mai.

‘Route A’ was chosen as the preferred plan – the more expensive route that consists of both above-ground and under-ground routes.

The budget for the light railway was set at 86 billion baht. The draft estimate was for a spending of up to 100 billion baht so it is beleived that the plans will be slightly adjusted to compensate the deficit.

SOURCE: ChiangMaiCityLife

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Chiang Mai

15 year old dies in Chiang Mai boarding house fire

The Thaiger

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PHOTO: Chiang Mai City Life

A 15 year old girl has died following a fire that engulfed the living areas of a Christian boarding school in Fang district, north of Chiang Mai city, this morning. Fang police were alerted at 1:30am about the fire at the Christian Paolo School that is run by the Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand.

Ten fire engines were dispatched to tackle the fire that was raging through the two storey boarding house. All but one of the 74 children escaped, assisted by firefighters. The boarding house accommodates 28 boys and 46 girls, most of them from hill tribes.

After the fire was eventually extinguished hours later, the charred body of Saenghom Omsin was found on the second floor. The students told police that they believe the fire was started by a short circuit in a ceiling fan in her room before it spread.

Police suspect that Saenghom went underneath her bed instead of running out.

SOURCE: The Nation, Chiang Mai City Life

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