Visa perks for wealthy long-stays

Visa perks for wealthy long-stays

The cabinet has approved a number of incentives for three foreign groups of taxpayers: high-income earners, retirees and those who want to work remotely from Thailand, said Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

He said the beneficiaries would be considered investors in Thailand with the Thai government offering them long-term residence (LTR) visas.

The first group must invest at least US$500,000 (16.35 million baht) in government bonds, property or otherwise in the form of foreign direct investment. They must have amassed at least $80,000 in income over the last two years and have $1 million in assets.

Foreign retirees must be 50 years or over, have an annual income of $40,000 or more, and invest $250,000 in government bonds or real estate.

Professionals interested in working remotely from Thailand must prove they have annual income of at least $40,000 a year, a master's degree or higher or rights in intellectual property, and five years' experience in a research field.

A fourth group eligible for the visa would be taxed, however.

Experts in digital services are required to work for SET-listed companies or have worked for at least three years in private companies that earn revenue of $50 million a year or more.

This group is being eyed as highly skilled professionals are required to work in targeted industries or as academic experts in universities or state agencies.

"However, if [the last group] earns any income after they are in Thailand, they are required to pay personal income tax at the normal rate," Mr Arkhom said.

Traisulee Traisoranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said the finance ministry reported to the cabinet that the government would not lose any revenue from the plan because the three groups are not paying any taxes here at present.

However, the government stands to benefit by levying a 17% personal income tax on certain highly skilled professionals.

Attracting more talent from abroad is expected to boost the domestic economy in terms of investment, expenditure and consumption, increasing Thailand's competitiveness.

The visas will be valid for five years and renewable for up to another five years, with a final cap at 10 years. Visa holders will have to pay an annual fee of 10,000 baht and report their residential address once a year.


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