The cabinet on Tuesday approved visa changes intended to attract affluent foreigners for lengthy stays, targeting the rich, retirees, remote workers and skilled professionals.
The purpose is to increase investment in the country and boost the economy.
Deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said the new regulations were in two draft ministerial announcements submitted by the Interior Ministry and the Labour Ministry.
They target foreigners with enormous wealth, wealthy pensioners, foreigners who want to work remotely from Thailand, and highly skilled professionals.
The Interior Ministry proposals provide for long-term residence (LTR) visas, each for up to four family members including children up to 20 years old. The Board of Investment will set the qualifications of the applicants.
The visas will be valid for five years and renewable for up to five years. The total validity period is capped at 10 years. Visa holders will pay an annual fee of 10,000 baht and will report their residential address once a year.
After receiving the visa, the foreigners can apply for work permits.
They can request a change in the type of visa afterwards, in compliance with the rules of the Immigration Bureau.
The other change is from the Labour Ministry, Ms Rachada said.
It will allow foreigners to start working right away after filing their work permit requests, without having to wait for their work permits.
If they have employers, their work permits will be valid as long as their employment contracts last, but not more than five years. The work permits can be extended to meet their employment contracts, for up to five years at a time.
Foreigners who have their own business can seek work permits for up to five years and the permits can be renewed for up to five years each time.
Violation of any regulations under the ministerial announcements will result in cancellation of the visas and work permits.
Ms Rachada said the new visa regulations need to be formally announced by the two cabinet ministers. The prime minister wanted that to be soon.