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iWorld / News / Thailand

New Thai government immigration rules for foreigners

April 19, 2021

4 minutes read

Citizens of other countries, who have decided to live or work in Thailand for an extensive period of time as financially independent persons or freelancers, the Kingdom is preparing a simplified option for obtaining entry documents. The government decision on this issue will be known by the end of the year.

On the verge of an important reform

A senior adviser of the Thai government said that the official authorities are planning to reconsider the immigration rules for foreign citizens. It is assumed that the following procedures will be simplified: obtaining work permits, visas and dealing with the police regarding foreigner's stay in the country. According to the government, it is planned to introduce more comfortable rules of real estate ownership, as well as reducing the income tax rate for foreign investors.

It should be emphasized that the planned reforms in the field of immigration law will affect the retirees and startup entrepreneurs, who will be granted certain benefits. Authorized representatives of Thailand hope to bring at least 1 million financially independent individuals who can raise more than 38 billion U.S. dollars to the national economy, weakened by the pandemic coronavirus.

Green light for skilled freelancers

The government of the Kingdom of Thailand is determined to encourage the immigration activity of remotely working professionals from around the world who can support the national economy with U.S. dollars and euros. Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput, a director of the Bank of Thailand, said in a speech on March 29 that his country no longer prioritizes ordinary tourists who come to enjoy the beauty of nature and high levels of service.

"The global market digitalization has made high-quality work possible from every corner of the globe. Our country, more than any other, is ready to host qualified freelancers, providing them with all the conditions for long-term accommodation. These people can settle in any region of Thailand and work as efficiently as possible, providing our economy with an inflow of additional capital, "- said the country's chief banker.

Suthivartnarueput urged the authorities to expedite the conditions for obtaining visas for foreign workers: "The processing of entry documents and other immigration rules for foreign workers should be simplified as much as possible.

The economic realities of Thailand

The Kingdom of Thailand's budget is heavily dependent on tourism-related income, which accounts for about 12% of GDP and 20% of employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the local economy, significantly reducing the percentage of tourists. While in 2019 about 40 million foreigners entered the country for vacation, by the end of next year the number of tourists fell to 7 million. Experts believe that in 2021 the number of people who decided to spend holidays in Thailand will be 3% due to vaccination and relaxation of quarantine measures in developed countries.

Sethaput Suthivartnarueput adds, that the country's tourism sector is unlikely to reach 2019 rates in the next 5 years. Therefore, the government official decided to push the government to unusual decisions in the field of immigration in order to qualitatively increase the inflow of financially independent persons into the country, who can significantly help the recovery of the economy.

As a reminder, in 2018 Thailand tried out a new immigration scheme called Smart Visa, which allowed talented and professionally sought-after foreigners to obtain four-year visas. The measure was a significant legal achievement to help foreign startup entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, long-term visas were issued only to those specialists who were ready to work with complex electronics, develop medical tourism, introduce new solutions in biotechnology and the agricultural sector, improve robotics, and do better for the environment.

Source: UGlobal

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