Specialised industries gain a smart visa

BANGKOK, 18 January 2018: For the first time foreigners will be able to apply for a long-stay work visa valid for four years, but for a select list of specialised industries, or for a company-related investment.

The government approved what it calls a “smart visa” a reference to targeted industries that require foreign experts and are linked to new or disruptive technology.

According to a report in the Nation Newspaper, smart visas will be on the books effective 1 February.

The visas are for what the government calls  “smart curve” industries already promoted and open to foreign experts. They include next-generation automotive, smart electronics, medical and wellness tourism, food, agriculture and biotechnology.

New additions to the priority list are automation and robotics, aviation and logistics, biochemicals and eco-friendly petrochemicals, digital businesses, and medical hubs.

There are various categories that are open for a smart visa. One focuses on specialists in scientific fields where there is a clear shortage that cannot be filled currently by Thai citizens.

Another group eligible for the visa includes investors who are ready to sink Bt20 million in targeted industries.

In addition, the smart visa holder does not need to apply for a work permit. It is included in the visa and there is no requirement to report to immigration every 90 days, just once annually during the four-year term.