Whilst most of us will be glad to see the back of it at the earliest opportunity, the pandemic has taught us many lessons and got plenty of people thinking about how they want to live their lives. Being forced to work from home has led many people to conclude that they prefer not to return to an office at all – and Thailand is targeting these people in a bid to give their tourism figures a much-needed boost. Here’s all you need to know about Thailand’s plans to attract digital nomads and other types of travelers.
Thailand’s Visa Proposals
Traveling to Thailand with the intention of working can be a minefield at the best of times. A complicated maelstrom of paperwork, visa runs and trips to the local immigration office await anyone who plans to earn a living on their laptops in the proper, legal way, leading to many people taking the risk of living the digital nomad lifestyle without the necessary work permit. However, proposals put forward by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) could be set to change all of that.
With initial plans by the Thai government to bolster tourism numbers falling far short of their targets as the country battles a Covid-19 surge, the TAT has proposed giving four targeted groups – wealthy people, digital nomads, retirees and highly skilled workers – easier access into the country and several benefits that may entice them to stay and invest into the country.
The plan would be a radical change from the usual experience foreign workers go through whilst living in the country. It would allow entrants to work without needing a work permit, secure a visa for up to 10 years and even buy land and property in the country – something that foreigners are currently unable to do in Thailand.
The proposal outlined specific criteria that members of the four targeted groups must meet in order to qualify. They are as follows:
- Wealthy people – must have $1 million in assets and $100,000 in health insurance. They also must invest $500,000 in real estate or Thai government bonds and have a minimum of $80,000 of income over the past 2 years
- Digital nomads – must have an income of $40,000 a year and health insurance to the tune of $100,000
- Retirees – must be 50 or over with an annual income of $40,000, $250,000 worth of investment in government bonds or real estate, and $100,000 health insurance
- Skilled workers – must have skills or abilities that would make them an asset to the country. Needs to have an income of $40,000 a year and health insurance of $100,000
Whilst still a proposal that has a long way to go before it becomes an official policy, it is bound to attract the kind of travelers that Thailand needs in order to restart its tourism industry and kickstart its economy.
Why Travelers Should Consider Working From Thailand
Aside from the obvious – scenic beaches, picturesque landscapes and cheap, tasty food – there are several reasons why so many digital nomads flock to Thailand to work from. Thailand has recently voted the best country for digital nomads, with the southern beach destinations of Phuket and Krabi taking the gold and bronze medal.
With a thriving café scene, extremely affordable accommodation and some of the fastest internet speeds in the world, Thailand offers digital nomads a great environment to live and work in, and the new proposals could see more people get to experience this in the future.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
Great article, please keep us posted!
The only one that says foreign income is tax free is the “Wealthy” visa. If the “Digital Nomad” one is foreign income tax free, that could be huge for a lot of Americans, given we’re generally taxed twice as expats until we can claim a portion back at tax time. Given it says a work permit isn’t needed, I assume that means employees from remote companies can work there legally without triggering any tax laws for employers, too.
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
If Thailand wants to revive tourism then the only way is to open to tourists. These stupid restrictions are keeping people out and killing their economy. As a resident of a fully opened region with low vaccination rates, life is normal and people aren't dying like the media said would happen. The pandemic is a deception. It's time to abandon this nonsense narrative. Open and be free.
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
The digital nomad criteria isn't quite complete. You also are required to have a bachelors degree and a minimum of 5 years of experience in the business. While those don't seem to be a big deal you also have to consider who Thailand is look to attract. They are looking for people closer to retirement age, and those who work for billion dollar corporations or stock brokers with a minimum of $50M a year in trades over the last 3 years. In other words, not your average backpacker with a laptop and a blog. They are targeting people they believe will contribute at least 1 million baht annually to the local economy. At a 17% tax bracket, they will want to see the potential of about $200K USD in revenue out of you. Now that is a much taller bar to jump. As for buying property in Thailand, that really is only attractive if you intend to permanently live there (which is the opposite of a nomad). The reason is it's pretty hard to resell residential property in Thailand. Keep in mind there are no details on what you can buy and the terms you can hold it under yet. Anyone who knows anything about property in Thailand can see that minefield from a mile away.
Saturday 18th of June 2022
@EdwardV, I haven't seen that listed anywhere else, which leaves me to believe that is false information