Thailand’s new plans to attract expats

Thailand has approved an investment package aimed at attracting wealthy expats and highly skilled professionals from abroad to help kickstart the economy post pandemic. Like many countries, Thailand’s economy was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic last year. The country’s GDP fell by over 6% in 2020 and many workers, especially those related to the tourism sector, lost their jobs. The government responded boldly to mitigate the crisis. Timely and stringent containment measures introduced by the authorities successfully flattened the infection curve during most of 2020.

Target groups

Under the new scheme outlined this week, there are four target groups.

  1. Wealthy global citizens who travel internationally on a frequent basis and have assets in different countries. To acquire a long-term Thai visa, those in this group need to invest at least $500,000 (16.5 million baht) in government bonds or in property. The minimum income required for this group is $80,000 per year for the past two years, and the required minimum value of assets owned is $1 million plus health insurance coverage of $100,000.
  2. People over the age of 50 with pensions that are enough to cover their costs of living in Thailand. They are required to invest at least $250,000 in Thai government bonds or in real estate. The minimum income required for the group is $40,000 per person per year. The minimum health insurance package required for this group is also US$100,000 coverage per person.
  3. Professionals living in Thailand while working remotely for their firms in other countries. These individuals are digital nomads and likely to be employees of large companies.
  4. Highly skilled professionals who want to work as experts in the government’s target sectors. Those in this group are required to have at least five years of work experience, earn at least $40,000 per year and hold a health insurance policy with a coverage value of $100,000. The government says it expects to attract more than a million qualified people to Thailand in the next five years, beginning next year.

Top expat destinations in Thailand

  • Bangkok. Many expats move to the capital city for professional reasons, and many others go just for the buzz of this bustling metropolis of 14 million citizens. The city is known for its skyscrapers, sky trains and mega malls.
  • Phuket. This is Thailand’s largest island in Thailand and home to more than 600,000 Thai people and more than 100,000 expats. It’s known for its amazing beaches, golf courses and laid-back vibe.
  • Chiang Mai. An ancient city in the north of the country. The cost of living here is much cheaper than in other cities like Bangkok and it attracts expats from all over the world.
  • Koh Samui. An hour and a half’s flight from Bangkok this is a topical paradise complete with turquoise waters, coconut groves and palm-lined beaches. It has an affordable yet high standard of living.

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