New opportunities for long term living in Thailand
Thailand has long been an attractive destination for expats and travellers alike. The availability and ease of access to beautiful beaches and scenic mountains means Thailand has something for everyone. Now with the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and everyone trying to return to normality, Thailand is now attempting to attract new long term residents to the country.
In February 2022, we saw 2 new proposals approved which aim to make it easier for groups of people such as skilled workers and digital nomads to establish themselves in Thailand.
Personal Income Tax exemption for long term residents
The first of these proposals is an exemption from personal income tax for foreigners on long-term resident visas (LTR visa) who live in Thailand or want to work from Thailand. The Thai cabinet has approved this royal decree in principle. This decree will allow foreigners who possess special skills and will work in specific industries (to be announced later) will be subject to a flat-rate personal income tax of 17%.
The government intends to use tax incentives as a way to attract such foreigners, who are either high income earners, wealthy or who have special skills needed by Thailand, to enter the country. The government hopes attracting such foreigners will help boost the domestic economy and aid technological development.
Who is eligible for this exemption and a LTR visa?
Eligible applicants for this programme are split in 4 different groups. These groups are as follows:
Foreigners who qualify as wealthy and are eligible to be issued with LTR visas are those who invest (via foreign direct investment (FDI)), in Thai government bonds or real estate in Thailand. Any investment must be worth a minimum of US$ 500,000, the applicant must also have had personal income of no less than US$ 80,000 per year for the past two years and with assets worth US$ 1 million.
Foreign pensioners who qualify for an LTR visa must be at least 50 years old and have invested in Thai government bonds (via FDI) or real estate in Thailand, with a minimum investment of US$250,000. Additionally they must have an annual income of US$40,000 or an annual pension of a minimum of US$80,000.
The third group eligible to apply for an LTR visa are those who want to work from Thailand. Such applicants must have an annual income of no less than US$80,000 over the past two years. However, if the applicant has graduated with a Master’s degree or owns an intellectual property right or has received “Series A” funding with five years of work experience, then the annual income amount is reduced to a minimum of US$40,000.
The final group of foreigners who can apply for an LTR visa are those who possess special skills. Skilled workers must have had an annual income of at least US$80,000 for the past two years. If the applicant has completed post-graduate education, and with five years of work experience in industries targeted by the Thai government, then the minimum annual income is reduced to a minimum of US$40,000
Flexible Plus Programme
The second proposal that will help people looking to live and work in Thailand is the launch of the new Flexible Plus Programme.
The Flexible Plus Programme is offered by the Thailand Privilege Card company, who offers the Thailand Elite Card scheme. The Flexible Plus programme was launched as a way to attract foreigners in need of a work permit i.e. digital nomads or those who don’t have to work from an office. While this seems like an exciting new scheme, there is one significant consideration. In order to qualify for this program, an investment of 30 million THB is required.
Initially this proposal was approved by the Thai Cabinet in October 2021. Investors who qualify for the Flexible Plus Programme will also be given the right to work in Thailand.
Who is eligible for the Flexible Plus Program?
Those who are eligible to apply for the Flexible Plus programme include Elite Card members (members must have a card validity of at least 10 years). For members who are enrolled in the Elite Ultimate Privilege, Elite Superiority Extension, and Elite Privilege Access programmes, cards must have a validity of at least 5 more years.
Please note that all applicants need to have invested at least 30 Million THB within a year.
Are there any alternative options for long term living in Thailand?
While these new programmes are a step in the right direction, they are very expensive and may not be easily accessible for everyone.
For a comprehensive list of alternative solutions for those who would like to live in Thailand long term, please take a look at our article, “How can I stay long term in Thailand without working?”.
Thailand is now looking to attract foreign travellers by making it easier to obtain long term resident visas. Recently, there have been more options introduced to allow this, making it easier than ever for people to come to Thailand long term.
Thai Visa Belaws understands that the application process can often be confusing, this is why our Visa expert is available to help you identify and apply for the best visa for your situation.
In order to provide the most accurate and reliable advice for your needs, Thai Visa Belaws offers a visa Consultation Service with our Visa expert. During this consultation our Visa expert will assess your current situation and needs and provide a solution for the most suitable Visa or extension. Our Visa expert has helped numerous clients and has a vast amount of experience and can help you come to a desirable outcome.
Please click here to find out how the Belaws team of experts can help you obtain the best Visa for your needs.
Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
The purpose of this call is to provide with you the necessary information to obtain a Visa for Thailand and outline how Thai Visa Belaws can assist you.
Thai Visa Belaws offers the following Visa services in Thailand: Visas (new applications and renewals), Work Permits and Extensions of Stay.
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