published on: Sep 28, 2022 at 04:00
The cabinet yesterday approved the expansion of the Smart Visa program to cover a total of 18 targeted industries, up from the existing 13, aimed at attracting skilled workers, investors, executives and entrepreneurs to work or invest in Thailand.
According to government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, additional industries are national defense; those that directly and significantly facilitate the circular economy, such as the production of fuel from waste and the management of water resources; aviation and aerospace; technological innovation and management of the startup ecosystem; targeted technological development and international business centers.
Over the past five years, Thailand has launched a series of initiatives to stimulate the economy through innovation.
In a bid to attract talent and technology to further develop its targeted S-curve industries, the government designed the Smart Visa program to enhance Thailand’s attractiveness by attracting science and technology experts, senior executives, investors and startups. The program was launched on February 1, 2018.
The Smart Visa is offered to foreign experts, executives, entrepreneurs and investors who wish to enter Thailand to work or invest in 13 S-curve industries.
The existing 13 targeted industries are: next-generation automotive; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; aviation and logistics; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical center; smart electronics; food for the future; automation, robotics and alternative dispute resolution; development of human resources in science and technology; and environmental management; renewable energy.
Smart Visa holders enjoy a maximum stay of four years, exemption from the work permit requirement and are entitled to additional privileges.
In a related development, Danucha Pichayanan, Secretary General of the National Economic and Social Development Council, said on the sidelines of the weekly cabinet meeting that the country’s economy remains on track to grow, supported by foreign direct investment ( IDE), which are recovering. after the appeasement of the Covid-19 epidemics.
The head of the state planning unit said FDI is expected to continue, as indicated by a large-scale investment by Chinese electric carmaker BYD in Thailand.
In addition, Danucha said the country can expect larger-scale investments from world-class digital companies.
“We expect these large-scale foreign investments to continue over the next 2-3 years thanks to government support measures, including the Long-Term Residence Visa (LTR) program to attract wealthy foreigners and professionals to stay and work in Thailand,” he said.
“This will help generate more sustainable long-term income than that generated by tourism.”
Mr Danucha said the biggest concern was the prospect of a global recession in 2023 and a likely general election next year, which could lead to changes in existing economic policies.
Thailand has already put in place measures to attract wealthy foreigners and professionals as part of efforts to improve the economy.
The new LTR visa – which started on September 1 – allows certain non-Thais to stay in the kingdom for up to 10 years.
The visa offers a range of tax and non-tax benefits to attract new foreign residents, technology and employees to stay or work longer in the country.