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Thai Immigration Officials Reviewing a Proposal for 4 Year Smart Visa

Transcript of the above video:

Today, we're going to be talking about a rather recent development with respect to Thai immigration and visas coming to us from KhaoSod English's website Khaosod English dot com the writer on this article is sassy Juan moccasin staff reporter. August 18, 2017 is the time of publication. The title is “4-year professional visas get green light.”

Bangkok I plan to offer four year visas to highly skilled professionals and investors was endorsed Friday by the Cabinet. Those who obtain the so-called “smart visa” can stay in Thailand with their spouse and children for up to four years without applying for a work permit. I'll come back to that.

That's interesting unlike other visa holders who have had to report to the authorities every 90 days, they would only need to present themselves to the Immigration Bureau annually according to information published online by an agency for both promoting the Prime Minister's agenda. To be eligible, applicants must be investors, startup entrepreneurs, high-level executives or highly skilled professionals the event. The announcement did not detail which skills would be considered.

To quote further, “More details will soon be released online by the prime minister's Delivery Unit according to the director. We'll keep you updated through this channel when the rules specifically change on this topic. This is interesting. This is the significant development of this if this transpires.

Well the first thing to keep in mind is we're far away from implementation of this policy, this just received cabinet approval Friday. That being said, cabinet approval is the significant step with respect to regulatory changes here in Thailand especially with respect to immigration visa matters. The other thing to keep in mind is certain of these sort of exceptional visa categories and the old, there are certain visas associated with foreign investment. BOI companies can be able to get work permits issued in two year increments.

These sort of exceptional situations or documents come to mind when sort of talking about this situation. The thing to keep in mind is oftentimes, this is fairly narrowly restricted to a specific subset of individuals who are here in the Kingdom and for specifically narrowly defined subsets of business activities. So people are going to be somewhat apt to read this and make sort of the general state Owen Tyler is going to have for your visas here pretty soon probably unlikely. And I suspect it's probably going to be a minimal investment component to this which will likely rule out smaller operators sort of the F and B businesses, the rather true small business operators who are a form derivation who are maintaining lawful status through a VBS and a work permit over here.

The one thing I felt rather interesting, the article and I will be following up with in another video it noticed this they can say for up to four years without applying for a work permit now in everything I read this was kept a little bit vague and I'm still reading up on this Bangkok Post and The Nation also posted some articles with respect to this. The Calcutta was the first one I saw. I wanted to include them in this video so there's that would be quite a departure from general business visa practice and immigration policy protocols up to the time of this filming.

I have to imagine that this will probably only apply in those situations with respect to investor visas where they mentioned that investors and companies here in Thailand may be eligible for this for your professionals or smart visas they call it. I have to expect that that non work permit requirement would probably only apply to like a path and investor sort of scenario because tile all has been pretty clear in the regulation and enforcement of Thai labor law to this point has had pretty cogent policy which is anybody engaging in what could in any we described as “work or employment activities” is going to be subject to the rules with respect to the need to have a work permit.

So I have to imagine that there's only going to be some very limited very narrow situations where you're going to see somebody be able to get one of these visas without the need to go ahead and get a work permit because up to this point, work authorization and immigration status or two totally different legal criteria here in legal categorizations I should say here in Thailand. As of the time of this filming, one's immigration status is not necessarily tied specifically to one's visa status. A very good example of this are individuals who have permanent residents here in Thailand. They also need to go ahead and get a work permit. It's a little bit different than almost any other country where permanent residents have the labor authorization sort of built in to the residents to the residential status.

Meanwhile, things like a marriage visa here in Thailand allow the holder of marriage visa here in Thailand to apply for a work permit but a marriage visa in and of itself is not necessarily going that status, doesn't necessarily go hand in hand again with work authorization so. But that being said and we've seen situations, I personally have dealt with situations in the past where volunteer activities here in the Kingdom, certain unpaid activities here in the Kingdom things that can maybe even be described as sort of a package studying type of activity here have been adjudicated to have been work and the failure to obtain a work permit to engage in those endeavors is oftentimes resulted in fines and other types of penalties.

So I think it's fairly safe to conclude that probably this notion that these are going to be issued without necessarily the need for work permit, I think that's only going to be a narrow cases probably involving investors. And the other thing to keep in mind this is yet to be implemented so we're quite a ways off from probably seeing implementation. The government does appear to be taking this to be a significant priority here and notwithstanding that once these whorls MS league wants the rules and regulations on this topic are ultimately promulgated, it stands to reason that it's only going to be in sort of a narrow subset of individuals and business activities where these visas are going to be available.