Expert expats earning high salaries will be eligible for professional visas of four years starting in mid-January 2018.
From then, a long-expected program offering visas will be made available for the duration of four years at a time to foreign nationals earning THB 200,000 per month and above.
Lt. Col. Thanarak Boonyaratkarin, the Immigration Bureau Police official, was quoted by khaosodenglish.com as saying that the Smart Visa would offer more privileges and benefits than any other type of visa. He said that its holders would be able to remain in Thailand for a long time and would be eligible to be accompanied by their families.
Commencing in mid-January, foreign nationals who satisfy the requirements of the Smart Visas can apply for them at the Embassies of this Southeast Asian country in their respective countries or at Bangkok’s Chamchuri Square’s One-Stop Service Center for Visas and Work Permits.
Eligible for Smart Visas are foreign nationals earning over THB 200,000 per month in speciality industries such as healthcare, technology, robotics and more.
According to Thanarak, the goal of the program is to lure experts and entrepreneurs with technical knowledge to stay longer in Thailand. Unlike others who check with immigration every three months, Smart Visa holders only require checking once a year. A government website said that they were also not needed to secure a work permit.
Holders of Smart Visa can either be investors or entrepreneurs in the assigned speciality industries to be eligible for visas ranging from two to four years, based on their field.
Investments of investors need to be approved by the Thailand Board of Investment.
The 10 specialized fields that the government has in its technology thrust under the Thailand 4.0 initiative are the five existing industries of agritech, automotive, electronics, food technology and medical tourism.
Added in the future will be the five industries of aviation, biochem, digital technology, logistics, medical services, robotics, equipment and pharmaceuticals.
An umbrella federation of trade groups proposed the Smart Visa plan first in March 2016 to attract investment and foreign skilled workers.
Smart Visa holders will be eligible for the duration of four years rather than extensions of one year. Eligible automatically for four-year extensions are the spouses and children of the visa holders. In addition, there is no restriction of age for Smart Visas.
A report in state media cited Sansern Keawkamnerd, a government spokesman, as saying that there were plans to let online applications be accepted for the visa in the later part of 2018.
If you are looking to travel to Thailand, get in touch with Y-Axis, a reputed company for immigration services, to apply for a visa.