The government introduced the smart visa programme in February, designed to encourage highly skilled professionals and talent to work and invest in targeted industries in the EEC.
BoI Secretary-General Duangjai Asawachintachit said the Cabinet acknowledged and approved the revision of the smart visa last Tuesday (Nov 6).
The second category is to increase privileges and benefits for smart visa holders, with the Cabinet ordering the Immigration Bureau to open a fast-track service for foreigners holding these visas at all international airports.
The third category is to decrease minimum monthly income to B100,000 for general experts and B50,000 for experts in local startups, while the monthly income from high professionals and executives stands at a minimum of B200,000, though the BoI has changed this to include all income and bonuses.
In addition, the BoI is allowing startups to receive local venture capital and revising startups’ minimum investment from B20 million per individual investor to co-investment for multiple investors, while new startups require a minimum investment of B5 million.
Ms Duangjai said the smart visa for startups will have three periods – six months, one year and two years – instead of a one-year period with two-year renewals.
As of September, there were 1,078 inquiries about the smart visa, but only 37 people applied for one. The government approved 28 smart visas for digital and automation/robotics.
The BoI had expected to approve 1,000 applications for the smart visa this year.
The smart visa lets overseas experts stay and work in Thailand for up to four years without a request to obtain a work permit from the Labour Ministry.
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