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Government plan to entice rich expats

BANGKOK: The cabinet has greenlighted an economic stimulus and investment promotion package aimed at attracting wealthy foreigners and highly skilled professionals from overseas to help revive the economy post-COVID-19.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 15 September 2021, 09:45AM

Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Photo: Somchai Poomlard

Benefits in the package include a 10-year Thai visa for not only approved special visitors but also their spouses and children, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana yesterday (Sept 14), reports the Bangkok Post.

The package also includes automatic work permits, the same rates of income tax as Thai citizens, tax exemption for income earned abroad, and ownership of properties and land, he said.

Mr Thanakorn said that the right to choose to pay a fixed rate of income tax at 17% within the package is being offered but only to foreign experts contributing to the development of the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.

The government expects to attract more than a million qualified people to Thailand in the next five years, beginning next year, he said.

“The government also expects these foreigners to spend on average a million baht per person per year while staying and working in Thailand, or about a trillion baht in the next five years in total,” Mr Thanakorn said.

About B800bn is also expected from the money invested by about 90,000 foreigners as required in the application forms for these long-term visas, he said.

Another B270bn is also expected to be derived from taxes paid by these foreigners: B180bn from income tax, B70bn from value-added tax and B22bn from taxes related to their investments, he said.

The government has four targeted groups for this long-term visa scheme with the first group being wealthy global citizens who travel frequently and have assets in several countries, he said.

To obtain a long-term Thai visa, this group would be required to invest at least US$500,000 (B16.5mn) in Thai government bonds in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI) or in real estate, he said.

The minimum income required for this group is US$80,000 per year for the past two years, while the required minimum value of assets owned is US$1mn and the minimum health insurance coverage required is US$100,000, he said.

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The second target group are wealthy pensioners who are at least 50 years of age with sufficient pensions to cover their costs of living in Thailand, he said.

The people in this group are required to invest at least US$250,000 in Thai government bonds in the FDI format or in real estate, he said, adding that the minimum income required for the group is US$40,000 per person per year.

The minimum health insurance package required for this group is also US$100,000 coverage per person, he said.

The third group are the so-called work-from-Thailand professionals who are interested in living in Thailand while working remotely for their employers in other countries, he said.

The people in this third group are expected to be digital nomads and employees of large organisations who are close to retirement, he said.

The fourth and last group of foreigners expected to be interested in this long-term visa programme are highly skilled professionals who may want to come to Thailand to either work as experts in the government’s target industries, Mr Thanakorn said.

Highly skilled professionals who would work as university lecturers teaching subjects related to industries of importance are also within this group, he said.

They are required to have at least five years of work experience, earn at least US$40,000 per year and hold a health insurance policy with a coverage value of US$100,000, he said.

The Board of Investment of Thailand has been assigned to set up a new centre to specifically serve this long-term visa programme, Mr Thanakorn added.

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Kurt | 16 September 2021 - 09:23:47

If the still have to come rich foreigners may own the land below their property, than long time here living Retirees should be able to own the land below their house and garden as well.. A land- 'law' just for the 'rich' who are not here yet sounds ridiculous.

Nocklaus | 16 September 2021 - 06:28:11

Nobody wants to invest money to come and live here. 
Furthermore, how are they going to get in contact with and "lure" these foreigners to Thailand?

Sir Burr | 15 September 2021 - 16:11:57

.......and how does letting in a few rich expats affect any of you?

Christy Sweet | 15 September 2021 - 14:55:15

Rich people do not want to live in developing nations unless they are operating.. er, grey area businesses. Better to continue pandering to middle income sex pats who'll leap through any flaming hoop to maintain access to sex.

Kurt | 15 September 2021 - 12:29:52

Many funny Government thoughts. Showing exactly that they not understand 'rich Expats'. These just laugh seeing total of financial demands. Who made their money elsewhere already not go to work in Thailand, getting confronted by the "This is the way we do it" Thai culture. This put them at the Thai money drain and milk them will not work, as previous attempts didn't work.

Kamala Pete | 15 September 2021 - 11:52:02

The interesting item here is "ownership of land". Does this not breach a fundamental principal enshrined in the Thai constitution? Wouldn't this risk opening the floodgates for a chinese land-grab? If the laws have changed regarding land ownership then "ordinary" farang pensioners should also be allowed to get off the rental treadmill.

Paddy | 15 September 2021 - 10:41:18

That's a fine slap in the face to us expats who have lived here a long time and invested big money here already.

Fascinated | 15 September 2021 - 10:05:07

I love it when they come up with these in in the sky numbers. Why not ease immigration policies for those expats who are already here instead- over time they contribute a heck of a lot more. The'elite' attitude' demonstrates all that is wrong with the Ivory Tower brigade.


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