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Are Europeans and other foreigners being lured to Thailand by the 10-year visa?

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The number of rich visitors who want to remain in Thailand for five years is estimated to be one million, but since the Smart Visa program was introduced in February 2018, just 1,200 travelers have taken advantage of it. Like the Smart Visa program, the new visa anticipates drawing 50% of travelers from Europe. Initial reactions are unfavorable. More time and interaction with the target audience are needed for the campaign to take off. I don’t think it will affect Dutch investments in the future. The Thailand Board of Investment is convinced that the Long-Term Residence program will be a success in the end as it is prepared to begin. In terms of foreign direct investment, which totals more than 715 billion Thai Baht, only Japan is ahead of the EU. Although some Europeans already living in Thailand may benefit, the executive director of the European Association for Business and Commerce in Thailand does not expect a stampede to obtain the visa and pour into Thailand. “Highly Skilled Professionals” are only allowed to work for vital government departments. Thai visas are not available to any group. Thanks to the new visa, they might stay without a Thai sponsor.

The 10-year visa is anticipated to produce one trillion baht, or US$27.6 billion, if one million people use it and each spends one million baht in Thailand. Several business people who already conduct business in Thailand have expressed interest in applying since it would reduce administrative costs. As far as we can tell, the number of activities in Thailand did not dramatically rise prior to the plan. As of September 1, visitors who make $80,000 or more a year or have $1 million in assets are eligible to apply for a 10-year visa. There are several entrance points, a work permit, and coverage for up to four dependents. The requirement that employers hire four Thai workers for every foreign employee does not apply to companies that use these visas. For “Wealthy Global Citizens,” the minimum investment is US$500,000, and for “Work-from-Thailand Professionals,” the minimum requirement is US$150 million in three-year employer income. Some worry that the standards and application process will be too onerous, despite the fact that many think these visas will attract people from Europe and other parts of the world.

The executive director of the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce indicated that there was little enthusiasm for the new visa. Southeast Asia as a whole and Thailand both hope to draw wealthy digital nomads. Indonesia is considering giving digital nomads a five-year visa, and Cambodia’s “My 2nd Home” initiative rewards travelers who are ready to invest $100,000. They argue that the program should require less documentation and simple, unambiguous supporting materials. Thailand has been urging wealthy foreigners and digital nomads, especially Europeans, to apply for 10-year golden visas. Is this a major draw, though?

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