In a bid to lure affluent foreigners for extended stays, Thailand’s lawmakers approved changes to the long-stay visa under the Immigration Act on Tuesday. The changes are for long-stay visa’s targeted at retirees, remote workers and skilled professionals.
The purpose of the visa initiative is to increase investment in the country and stimulate the economy.
Rachada Dhnadirek, the deputy government spokesperson, told reporters the new regulations were included in two draft ministerial announcements submitted by the Interior and Labour Ministries.
Foreigners with enormous wealth, wealthy pensioners, foreigners who want to work remotely from Thailand, and also highly skilled professionals are the target of the new long-stay visa scheme.
Among the proposals from the Interior Ministry are long-term residence visas for up to four family members, including children up to 20 years old. Qualifications will be determined by the Board of Investment.
New Visa good for a maximum of 10 years
This visa will be valid for five years and can be renewed for an additional five years. The total validity period is limited to a maximum of ten years. Visa holders will have to pay an annual fee of 10,000 baht and they will have to report their residential addresses once a year.
Foreigners can apply for a work permit once they have received their visas. The Immigration Bureau will allow them to request a change in the type of visa afterwards. The other change comes from the Labour Ministry, the spokesperson said.
The new law will also allow foreigners to start working immediately after filing for a work permit. The visa holders will not have to wait for their work permits to arrive.
The validity of their work permits will depend on the length of their employment contracts. They also cannot exceed five years. Work permits can be extended for up to five years in order to meet employment contracts.
Work permits can be obtained for up to five years for foreigners who own their own businesses. The permits can be renewed for up to five years each time.
Those who violate any regulations outlined in the ministerial announcements will have their long-stay visas and work permits revoked.
The new visa regulations need to be formally announced by the two cabinet ministers, according to the spokesperson. Furthermore, the prime minister wanted them to be announced soon.