Foreign investors, professionals, and retirees will be able to enjoy a number of new incentives in Thailand, as the government seeks to attract high-earning overseas residents to help the country’s COVID-19 recovery.

Thailand’s cabinet passed a resolution on September 14, 2021, introducing immigration, tax, and land ownership incentives aimed at foreign investors and skilled professionals. The incentives are part of an effort to stimulate Thailand’s economy which has been badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this article, we look at what incentives will be available, and who is eligible to apply for them.

The incentives come in three categories: immigration, tax, and real estate.

Qualified applicants can receive a 10-year long-term resident visa to live in Thailand, including for their spouses and children. Qualified applicants will also be issued an automatic work permit. This is a new type of visa that did not previously exist in Thailand.

As opposed to other types of visas, those on long-term resident visas will not have to submit written notices to relevant authorities to stay longer than 90 days in the country. Potentially, they will not be subject to restrictions on hiring foreign workers, such as the requirement that employers hire four Thai workers for every foreign one, although this remains to be determined.

Qualified applicants will be able to enjoy the same income tax rates as Thai citizens, as well as tax exemptions for income earned abroad. Further, they can apply for a 17 percent fixed income tax rate in accordance with the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

Qualified applicants will be able to enjoy relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership and rent of land and property.

The incentives will be overseen by Thailand’s Office of National Economic and Social Development Council. They will be in place for five fiscal years from 2022-2026, at which point authorities will evaluate their performance and decide whether to extend them.

Who qualifies for the incentives?

The incentives apply to four categories of foreigners: wealthy global citizens, wealthy pensioners, work from Thailand professionals, and highly skilled professionals.

Wealthy global citizens

People with at least US$80,000 in income over the last two years and at least US$1 million in assets can qualify for the incentives. Further, they must have medical insurance covering at least US$100,000 and invest at least US$500,000 in Thai government bonds or real estate.

Wealthy pensioners

Retired pensioners with a stable pension of at least US$40,000 per year and aged 50 or older can apply. They too must have medical insurance covering at least US$100,000 and invest at least US$250,000 in Thai government bonds or real estate.

Work from Thailand professionals

Foreign professionals who work remotely from Thailand (often referred to as digital nomads), with at least US$80,000 in income over the last two years and at least five years of work experience will be eligible.

Highly skilled professionals

This category refers to professionals with at least US$80,000 in income over the last two years or US$40,000 per year who work in targeted industries, including building infrastructure, logistical systems, and digital systems, or experts and researchers who work with state agencies or as university lecturers.

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This article was first published by AseanBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected].

About the author

ASEAN Briefing features business news, regulatory updates and extensive data on ASEAN free trade, double tax agreements and foreign direct investment laws in the region. Covering all ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam)

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