According to the chief of Thailand’s investment promotion body, more than 1,600 people have applied for Thailand’s new high-skilled worker visa in the three months since its introduction. 

As Nikkei Asia reported, Thailand unveiled a new visa dubbed the Long-Term Resident visa in September. It’s this country’s effort to draw talent worldwide. The visa provides holders with a preferential personal income tax rate and the right to stay in the country for ten years. The application period started on September 1.

Narit Therdsteerasukdi, secretary-general of Thailand’s Board of Investment, said in a group interview last week in Tokyo, “Since the launch on September 1, up until the present, over 1,600 applicants have submitted applications.”

He said Americans were the largest group by nationality, followed by Chinese, British, and Germans.

The visa intends to draw wealthy retirees, remote workers who want to work from Thailand, and foreign professionals in fields like biotechnology and electric vehicles. Narit revealed that the applicants are “mostly remote workers and retirees, but highly skilled workers also have a high number” of applications.

As Bloomberg News reported in September, the government expects new entrants to invest and buy real estate, generating 1 trillion baht ($27.6 billion) in economic benefits each year.

Narit stated, “We also have a friendly environment and are open to work with foreigners,” adding that Americans made up 20% of those applying for visas, followed by Chinese applicants at 15% and British applicants at 10%. 

He added, “The cost of living here is low.”

The program allows visitors a 10-year renewable, multiple-entry visa.

Its holders are allowed to work and are qualified for tax reductions. Highly-skilled professionals can have their personal income tax rates capped at 17%. Their spouses and children can also benefit from this.

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