On December 15, Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) suggested changes to the Smart Visa requirements so digital nomads and remote workers are allowed to stay up to 4 years in the country without a work permit.
The new rules have already been approved by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration. However, the Cabinet’s approval is still required.
The Smart Visa was originally introduced in February 2018. It was designed to attract science and technology experts, senior executives, investors and even start-ups. So far, only 514 foreigner nationals have been granted this type of visa.
Digital freelancers living in the country would be allowed to exchange their tourist visas for Smart ones. Otherwise, they need to border run every few months to hop from one short-term tourist visa to another. This situation would happen on a daily basis before the pandemic.
With the borders closed, a number of remote workers have had to sign up for classes to get student visas that allow them to stay legally in the country.
To become eligible for Smart Visas, applicants need to submit both, an employment contract with a foreign company, and proof of qualifications and experience since this visa is designed to attract highly-skilled workers.
Narit Therdsteerasukdi, BOI Deputy Secretary General, supports the new rules and hopes to draw in more talents from overseas.