On 18 August 2017, the Office of the Prime Minister announced (link in Thai) the approval of a number of initiatives for visas and work permits to promote foreign investment and business in Thailand.
These schemes have been long anticipated by Thailand’s international business community, who have lobbied for changes to facilitate doing business in Thailand.
Smart visa program
According to the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit and media reports, the smart visa program will encourage new foreign investments and the creation of new business ventures.
It is aimed mainly at new businesses, including start-ups and professionals in areas targeted for growth in Thailand. These include innovative electronics and robotics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, alternative biofuels and chemicals, aviation, and logistics. Existing foreign investors and businesses may qualify based on increased investment.
Qualified foreign investors and employees granted a smart visa will be able to stay in Thailand for four years. Also, rather than having to report every 90 days to Immigration, they only have to appear once a year. These smart visa holders will also be exempt from having to apply for a work permit. Additionally, some or all of these rights will apply to the smart visa holders’ immediate family staying with them.
Implementation planned for December
The exact details are expected to be announced some time in December 2017. Once implemented, the smart visa program will most likely increase the ease of doing business in Thailand, and thereby increase the Kingdom’s attractiveness for foreign investment. Furthermore, by targeting industries in advanced science and technology, the country is closer to achieving its Thailand 4.0 goals.
GPS Legal & Consulting appreciates the importance of this program and will be keeping close track of any progress. To discuss the implications of this pivotal development on you and your business, please feel free to contact us:
GPS Legal & Consulting
4/F Srisothorn Place
47 Sukhumvit Soi 23
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
T +66 (2) 258 4275