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BOI proposes new smart visa rules to lure foreign talent, digital nomads


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BOI proposes new smart visa rules to lure foreign talent, digital nomads

By The Nation

 

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The Board of Investment (BOI) will ask the Cabinet to approve new smart visa rules designed to attract more overseas talent to work in Thailand.

 

The new rules have already been given the green light by the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

 

Among the move’s aims is to allow digital freelancers currently working in Thailand to exchange their tourist visas for smart visas. To be eligible, applicants must have an employment contract with a foreign firm lasting at least six months and proof of qualifications and professional experience. BOI partners will help in screening their professional backgrounds.

 

After receiving the smart visa, their expertise could be tapped by universities, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency, National Innovation Agency, National Science and Technology Development Agency, and others, said BOI deputy secretary general Narit Therdsteerasukdi.

 

“The [resulting] influx of talent will create a talent pool in the country,” he assured.

 

Known as digital nomads, the foreign freelancers currently work in Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and even on Ko Pha-ngan in Surat Thani province, where they have set up a co-working space. 

 

The new visa rules will also cover experienced foreign executives in several businesses – helping to boost development of an investment ecosystem, especially for start-ups. Their expertise could be applied to innovation camps, co-working spaces, advanced materials and packaging, and 3D printing.

 

The BOI also aims to lure academics to government universities to teach subjects beyond science and technology. These would include innovation, technology management and entrepreneurship.

 

The new visa rules would allow small businesses to tap foreign talent by reducing the minimum salary they can offer foreigners from Bt100,000 to Bt50,000. 

 

The new rules also relax requirements for executives, reducing the 10 years’ experience and education level (bachelor’s degree) currently required.

 

So far, 514 foreigners have been granted smart visas since they were adopted in 2018. About half work in digital businesses, followed by automation and robotics. About 47 per cent of them work in start-ups.

 

Currently, Thailand offers four types of smart visa – the SmartT for talent, Smart E for executives, Smart I for investors, SmartS for start-ups and SmartO for family members.

 

Holders are permitted to stay up to four years in Thailand without a work permit. The visas also allow travel in and out of the country, as well as fast-track privileges at airports.

 

Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30399645

 

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation Thailand 2020-12-16
 
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I mentioned some time ago, perhaps 6 months back that the only way out of this going forward will be for Thailand to change every one of their antiquated foreign travel encouraging (visa runs for limited stay visas) immigration regulations.

 

That day draws closer and mark my words, it will happen.

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Same old same old. Lure them in when the economy is down, then make life difficult for them when the economy improves.

 

Do they think that "smart" people are stupid? Nobody want's to build a life at the whim of people that change the rules every 5 minutes, the rules change like the wind no "smart" people want to build a life on such rocky foundations.

 

Maybe some young guys do? before they wise up,  the "smart" ones realise the attitude towards foreigners changes pretty fast depending on how much they need our money/ skills at any given time, there is no use in investing time, effort and expertise in a country with zero long term stability or rights, that is a fools game!

 

 

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All these committees and meetings to work out how to make it appear it’s easier for foreigners to enter or remain without it really being any easier. 

Here’s a hint; just make it easier. 

 

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3 hours ago, webfact said:

BOI proposes new smart visa rules to lure foreign talent, digital nomads

 

do these guys take a daily dose of viagra in order to come up with these boners ? 

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4 hours ago, webfact said:

Among the move’s aims is to allow digital freelancers currently working in Thailand to exchange their tourist visas for smart visas. To be eligible, applicants must have an employment contract with a foreign firm lasting at least six months

Somebody should explain to the BOI what a freelancer is.

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so what are they saying? digital nomads r welcome,no it doesnt say that.i know 2 and thailand ,doesnt even appear on the radar.mexico georgia ukraine vietnam are the places theyve been or currently are.nothings ever simple here thats the problem,masses of red tape. the stare into your bank acc to see how much they can take off you,the constatntly changing rules and regs as they go from one form of panic to the next ,killa covid-70 dead in almost a yr and more die in a day on the roads,so we the rest of the world havent figured it out?,an eye watering platter of incompetence, zero logic, corruption and racism isnt gonna get people thronging back.maybe the mainland chinese but who would live there if theres a chance to get out?

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How is a freelancer supposed to get employment contract?

Isnt a freelancer someone who works for themselves?

 

Before they make rules, they need to make sure they know <deleted> they are talking about!

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Currently, Thailand offers four types of smart visa – the SmartT for talent, Smart E for executives, Smart I for investors, SmartS for start-ups and SmartO for family members.

 

Four Types of smart Visas.?.I count Five. So how smart is the BOI

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2 hours ago, misterjames said:

Same old same old. Lure them in when the economy is down, then make life difficult for them when the economy improves.

 

Do they think that "smart" people are stupid? Nobody want's to build a life at the whim of people that change the rules every 5 minutes, the rules change like the wind no "smart" people want to build a life on such rocky foundations.

 

Maybe some young guys do? before they wise up,  the "smart" ones realise the attitude towards foreigners changes pretty fast depending on how much they need our money/ skills at any given time, there is no use in investing time, effort and expertise in a country with zero long term stability or rights, that is a fools game!

 

 

What a load of nonsense, there are loads of foreign people earning very good money and having a great life over here for a very long time already. You are the not so smart one as you haven't got a clue about business life here.

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20 minutes ago, Watch Dog said:

Currently, Thailand offers four types of smart visa – the SmartT for talent, Smart E for executives, Smart I for investors, SmartS for start-ups and SmartO for family members.

 

Four Types of smart Visas.?.I count Five. So how smart is the BOI

and they even forgot the SmartRs visa for the ones who think they're terribly clever...

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18 minutes ago, sungod said:

Seems they are trying to find a way to get 'digital nomads' working from Thailand to pay tax.

 

Would assume so. I think everyone would agree that income tax should be paid/withheld/settled.

 

From the article:

 

To be eligible, applicants must have an employment contract with a foreign firm lasting at least six months 

 

 

Fairly simple for The Revenue Department to request some monthly withholding.

 

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1 hour ago, thhMan said:

How is a freelancer supposed to get employment contract?

Isnt a freelancer someone who works for themselves?

 

Before they make rules, they need to make sure they know <deleted> they are talking about!


Exactly.. They still dont seem to get the concept of what a 'free'lancer is.. It isnt someone with an employment contract !! 

They just cant get past the control aspects, there has to be a top down employment relationship etc.. Free market competition isnt what they appear comfortable with. 
 

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1 hour ago, thhMan said:

How is a freelancer supposed to get employment contract?

Isnt a freelancer someone who works for themselves?

 

Before they make rules, they need to make sure they know <deleted> they are talking about!

Guess they know all about that. These smart visa types are in fact all substitutes for the current visa types. 

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2 hours ago, jackdd said:

Somebody should explain to the BOI what a freelancer is.

Many freelancers have setup their own one-person company. So all they have to do is to show a contract signed with their own company. Brilliant!

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

The new visa rules would allow small businesses to tap foreign talent by reducing the minimum salary they can offer foreigners from Bt100,000 to Bt50,000. 

I'm confused by those numbers. The minimum salary for foreigners with a "normal" work permit is 50,000 Baht, and AFAIK, the minimum salary for the Smart Visa scheme was/is 200,000 Baht. So where does the 100,000 Baht number come from?

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4 hours ago, ukrules said:

I mentioned some time ago, perhaps 6 months back that the only way out of this going forward will be for Thailand to change every one of their antiquated foreign travel encouraging (visa runs for limited stay visas) immigration regulations.

 

That day draws closer and mark my words, it will happen.

Do you think the UK should do the same? 

 

It's so much easier for UK citizens to stay in Thailand at the moment than it is for Thai citizens to stay in the UK. 

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3 minutes ago, SymS said:

Many freelancers have setup their own one-person company. So all they have to do is to show a contract signed with their own company. Brilliant!

And daily pictures of your "one night" contact.

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

Among the move’s aims is to allow digital freelancers currently working in Thailand ...To be eligible, applicants must have an employment contract...lasting at least six months...

Isn't there a bit of a contradiction between encouraging freelance workers and requiring them to have long term work contracts with specific companies...do they even grasp the concept of a freelance worker?

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6 hours ago, webfact said:

The new visa rules would allow small businesses to tap foreign talent by reducing the minimum salary they can offer foreigners from Bt100,000 to Bt50,000. 

I wouldn't call Westerners working for Chinese companies teaching English to 5-year olds 'talent'.

 

The only talent they need is the ability to wear Mickey Mouse ears for 10 hours a day whilst playing the ukulele. 

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I saw how the Chinese teach the young ones in their schools and let me assure you, no softball. The text books used, even if only half used were enough to boggle the the mind. Here, the children who can afford to be taught foreign languages tend to go abroad. Plenty of need for tutors - they pay for the small rental places and buy food. I've had some very good experience using them for languages and math tutoring. It's usually a win-win. 

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31 minutes ago, Neeranam said:

Do you think the UK should do the same? 

 

It's so much easier for UK citizens to stay in Thailand at the moment than it is for Thai citizens to stay in the UK. 


Actually its harder to enter Thailand currently than it is to enter the uk.. And thats just the entry. 

Thailand covers near zero financial cost on immigrants (pension, unemployment, healthcare ??) while western countries offer large amounts, hence some simple basic protection to ensure that people are financially viable tourists and visitors is necessary (personally I am all in favor of much less benefits and much free'er immigration). A Thai with funds has nearly no issues obtaining visitor visas for the uk, of course the question must be asked what is a penniless Thai without a sponsor going to support a multi month london sojourn with ?? But thats just the visit. 

My sister in law arrived in the uk, was given free language and culture classes, free integration assistance, and while working and sending enough money back to Thailand to buy 2 and a half houses, has rapidly become a full citizen with lifetime right of stay, pensions, unemployment, healthcare, etc etc.. No TM30s, no 90 days reports, no restrictions on land ownership, etc etc.. Is that in any way comparable to here ?? 

In fact apart from the shortest of tourist purposes its actually easier to long term visit / stay and most importantly naturalize in western counties than it is here. To pretend otherwise is simply incorrect. 

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1 hour ago, sungod said:

Seems they are trying to find a way to get 'digital nomads' working from Thailand to pay tax.


Or they are simply tracking these Digital Nomads by luring them into believing their skills are welcomed. 
 

Once they apply these people will be flagged in the immigration system as working in Thailand, making it very difficult to re-enter the country on a tourist visa or visa exempt.

 

The real smart ones will be saying “no thanks”.

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Thailand seems to have no knowledge or concept at all of how freelancers, remote workers and startup founders actually work when traveling as "digital nomads." Even Pieter Levels himself (the founder of nomadlist.com) wouldn't qualify under the restrictions that the Thai government keeps putting out. That's why nobody signs up for these visas and the programs are a repeated failure.

 

What would totally work for remote workers: A no-hassle visa that is easily renewable via a simple, streamlined process for up to 6 months. Reasonable requirements would include health insurance for the stay, a ticket out of the country at the end of your stay, and proof of funds sufficient for the initial length of stay requested. If you can show proof of 6 months' funds, then you can get a 6 month visa. If you only have 1 month's worth of funds, then your visa is good for a month (but you can renew it by showing you have enough for the next month and so forth).

 

It really doesn't need to be more complicated than that. Freelancers would come in droves, spend money in Thailand and leave after a working holiday. Some who find success and enjoy Thailand and Thai culture may see the advantages of growing their business in Thailand. They would be likely to apply for more formal and permanent arrangements (for which a streamlined process should be available) while the vast majority would return to their home countries or move on to other locations.

 

Oh, you want to add health checks, police checks, employment contracts (which aren't even a thing with freelancers!) and and and and and--good luck with that, folks. You'll de-risk your way into yet another failed program. No risk no reward. That's startup life!

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