Thailand has approved a new 10-year visa program for remote workers and investors.
The program, which was announced by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s Cabinet on Sept. 14, aims to attract up to 1 million “affluent global citizens” within five years.
According to government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the scheme should pour at least 1 trillion baht into Thailand’s pandemic-ravaged economy, including 800 billion baht from new investments and 270 billion baht from increased tax revenue.
The baht is one of Asia’s worst-performing currencies in 2021.
The visa program is open to digital nomads, investors and wealthy retirees. Skilled professionals working in certain targeted industries can also apply.
To qualify for the program, digital nomads, skilled professionals and investors must earn at least $80,000 per year and agree to invest a minimum of $500,000 in real estate or bonds. Pensioners must have an annual income of at least $40,000 and agree to invest a minimum of $250,000.
Successful applicants will receive:
- A visa valid for 10 years
- A work permit
- The right to own and rent property
- Foreign income tax exemptions
- An exemption from a rule requiring businesses to hire four Thai employees for every one foreign employee
- An exemption from a rule requiring foreigners to report to Thai immigration authorities every 90 days
Thailand is one of several countries that have created special visas to attract digital nomads and remote workers, but the length of its visa could set it apart from the competition.
Jeff Opdyke, the editor of Global Intelligence Letter, told The Financial Times that the Thai government’s decision to offer a 10-year visa could be “a game-changer” for digital nomads.
“That is the holy grail of the true digital nomad: to get a visa that is multiyear,” said Opdyke.
The Office of National Economic and Social Development will be operating the visa program. The agency will announce further details about the initiative after consulting with the Board of Investment of Thailand, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Finance and the Royal Thai Police.
The government plans to reevaluate the program after an initial five-year trial period.