Tag Archive: program

  1. Update on Smart Visa Program

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    The Thai Government has taken a series of efforts in driving the economy through innovation and attracting highly skilled talents (Smart T), investors (Smart I), executives (Smart E) and startup entrepreneurs (Smart S) in its targeted industries – the so-called S-Curve industries – to Thailand. Therefore, the Smart Visa program was launched, which offers some significant benefits for the applicant, like no necessity for a work permit (even for spouse and children), no 90 days report and no requirement for a re-entry permit. While it went viral quickly, the number of applicants was low, as its conditions were hard to reach. To raise attractiveness and practical relevance of the program, the BOI has now updated the criteria for the Smart Visa program on December 24th, 2018, just 9 months after the program was launched. The main changes are shown as follows:

    Three more targeted industries were added to the S-Curve industries, “Alternative Dispute Resolution”, “Human Resource Development in Science and Technology” and “Environmental Management and Renewable Energy”.

    Smart T:

    The applicant’s minimum income was reduced to 100.000 THB in general, for employees at a Startup, or retired Experts to 50.000 THB, while it was 200.000 THB before the Update. For experts working in a government agency, higher education institution, specialized training institution, or at an Alternative Dispute Resolution service, the minimum income was abolished.

    Smart I:

    If investing in a startup or an incubation or accelerator program – which is endorsed by a relevant agency – the required amount of investment is reduced from 20 Million THB to 5 Million THB. This amount can be invested in different companies. The business to be set up or invested in must be certified as technology-based in manufacturing or delivering services in the targeted industries.

    Smart E:

    No changes in the Smart E visa. It still requires a minimum salary of 200.000 THB / Month, 10 Years of work experience and a senior management position.

    Smart S:

    The Smart S Visa is now subdivided into 3 different types:

    • Smart S for 2 Years: It is not required to attend in an incubation or accelerator program which is certified by relevant government agencies like DEPA anymore. Having established a Startup which is approved to be in the targeted industries and holding at least 25 % of the shares or being the managing director of such a company is sufficient for the 2-Years visa. All other requirements (deposit, health insurance) stay the same.
    • Smart S for 1 Year: This type is new to the Smart Visa program. The applicant has to attend to an incubation or accelerator program in the targeted industries certified by the government, or receive joint venture funding with the public sector, or endorsed by relevant government agencies. All other requirements of the old Smart S visa need to be fulfilled (600.000 THB deposit, health insurance).
    • Smart S for 6 Month: This new type of visa might be the most attractive, as it is way easier to obtain. The applicant just needs to have the plan to set up a tech startup which is endorsed by the relevant agencies or engage in an activity aimed to promote startups. A deposit is not required; only the health insurance for the whole stay is needed.

    The update from December 24th, 2018 is a significant relaxation of the application requirements of the Smart Visa program. While it had almost no practical use in the past, it seems that the new regulations may increase its relevance in the future. It should be mentioned that the Thai Government has a keen interest in attracting foreign experts, investors and startups. Further, Thailand invested a lot in the marketing of the Smart Visa program. By saying that, further changes and reliefs of the program are not improbable, as the Government is keen to make the program a success.

    If there are any questions regarding the Smart Visa or need assistance in the application process, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

  2. Thailand’s SMART Visa Program

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    Thailand has introduced a new program to attract highly skilled experts and investors. This program shall target several industries and enhance the scientific and technological sector. SMART Visa and its privileges will help to recruit various talents, senior executives, entrepreneurs and investors for the country’s development in the fields of next-generation automotive, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, future food technologies, automation and robotics, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, digitization and health technologies.

    Depending on the qualifications the SMART Visa application requirements vary:

    • Highly skilled experts in the fields of science and technology have to apply for Smart T. Smart T requires a minimum salary of THB 200,000 per month and an employment agreement which guarantees employment in Thailand for at least one year.
    • Investors must directly invest at least THB 20 million in the targeted industries in Thailand, which apply technologies related to manufacturing or delivering services. Smart I is the relevant visa type.
    • Senior executives of companies in the targeted industry which use technologies in manufacturing or delivering services must earn not less than THB 200,000 per month, hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and be engaged at least ten years in the relevant field. Senior executives must have an employment agreement with a company in Thailand or abroad, with a work assignment in Thailand. If the requirements are met, senior executives are eligible for the visa type Smart E.
    • Smart S is suitable for foreign startup entrepreneurs who wish to invest and operate in the targeted industries in Thailand. Entrepreneurs must have a fixed savings account with at least THB 600,000. This amount varies if spouses and children follow. Health insurance must be concluded which covers the entire period of stay in Thailand. The startup must be set up within one year and participate in an incubation or accelerator program.

    The qualifications of the targeted group must be certified by the relevant government agency, such as the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTA), Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), the National Innovation Agency (NIA) etc.

    Thailand SMART Visa

    Privileges range from a 4-year visa without the necessity of a re-entry permit, no obligation to obtain a work permit, an extension of the 90-day Immigration reporting to one year and a right for spouses and children to stay and work in Thailand without a work permit.

    The Smart Visa is a model which applies to companies that are promoted by the BOI. The Smart Visa unit under the BOI will issue a letter which certifies the qualifications. This letter is valid 60 days and is required for the Smart Visa application at Thai Embassies or the One-Stop Immigration Center for Visas and Work Permits in Thailand.