Wealthy foreigners seeking a way to live and work in Thailand will now be able to obtain a work permit under the recently rolled out Flexible Plus Programme which was approved by the Thai Cabinet in October 2021. The programme was conceived as part of the government’s effort to promote investment into Thailand’s target industries and help with its economic recovery by attracting high net worth investors.
Under the Flexible Plus Programme, qualified foreigners will be able to stay in Thailand under a non-immigrant visa which will allow them to apply for a work permit and legally conduct business activities they would otherwise not be able to perform. Those interested in the programme who already hold certain types of Thailand Privilege Cards or are staying in the country under a Thailand Elite Visa for at least 10 years may qualify depending on their status. They are, nevertheless, advised to seek guidance if they wish to proceed with the application process.
The crux of the programme, however, is that a foreigner needs to have invested at least US$1 million in the country (approximately B32 million) within a year of the application. This could either be in real estate, the Stock Exchange of Thailand or a Thai limited company. While specific details regarding investments have yet to be announced, it is likely foreign investment approvals from regulatory bodies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission will be required.
In addition, the Thai government is also considering lifting restrictions on foreign ownership of land to supplement the country’s attractiveness as an investment destination. However, this process may take some time and is expected to come with certain limitations. Silk Legal will provide further updates in due course once more information is available.
What is a Thai Elite Visa?
Designed primarily for high-net-worth individuals, the requirements for a Thai Elite Visa are minimal and generally only require applicants to pay the fees, which vary according to the length of time they wish to stay in Thailand. Packages and memberships cost anywhere between B600,000 to B2mn and give an applicant a five- to 20-year multiple-entry visa on top of other privileges such as airport limousine services, shopping privileges and golf club memberships.
By Dr Paul Crosio