17/06/2021

THAILAND DAILY

NEWSPAPER / MAGAZINE / PUBLISHER

thai-government-preparing-a-plan-to-attract-millions-more-expats-to-come-and-live-in-thailand

Thai government preparing a plan to attract millions more expats to come and live in Thailand

New plan will target retirees and the self-employed across the world to make Thailand their home and base for new business ventures. The plan hopes to attract 1 million per year out of an estimated 200 million worldwide with a monthly income of ฿300,000 to ฿400,000 per month. At last Friday’s meeting, officials in key agencies such as the Ministry of Labour, Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Commerce and business agencies were asked to review all laws impacting foreigners.

A radical new plan emerged last Friday at a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) being pushed by Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow who is being advised by a former managing director of JP Morgan Bank in Thailand, Chayotid Kridakon, to open up the kingdom to expat foreigners and attract millions more of them to live and invest in Thailand. This would spur on economic growth in the short term for the next six or seven years above 4% and in the long term, could be part of the basis for the kingdom’s vision of becoming a high-income economy powered by S Curve industries and entrepreneurship. The new plans may see property ownership regulations liberalised allowing foreigners to own homes while making visa and work permit processes easier for those investing in the kingdom going forward.

government-seeking-millions-of-expats-to-live in thailand
The plan being worked on is reported to be the brainchild of Mr Chayotid Kridakon (left), a former managing director of JP Morgan Thailand and is being championed by Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow (right). It was discussed at last Friday’s meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA). All government departments and agencies have been asked to review the laws and regulations concerning expats and foreigners living in the kingdom such as property ownership, visa and work permit processes. The goal is the formulation of a ‘proactive’ plan to attract millions of high-income foreigners to come to live and invest in Thailand to boost economic growth and aid the kingdom’s goal of becoming a high-income economy in the coming decades.

A key adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, on Wednesday, outlined a plan by the Thai government to attract up to one million foreigners with a high level of income to the kingdom to live each year under a new government initiative targeted with helping Thailand escape the middle-income trap which it is currently facing unless the economy is rejuvenated in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis which has seen the country’s GDP contract by up to 7%.

Mr Chayotid Kridakon, formerly a managing director with JP Morgan Thailand, revealed that the plan was discussed at last week’s meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on Friday chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha.

Immigration Bureau asked to review visa and reporting requirements for expats living in Thailand

As part of the initiative, key government agencies such as the Immigration Bureau, Ministry of Labour and the business administration department are being asked to look at ways to streamline legal requirements to make it easier for foreigners to consider living in Thailand and using it as a base for both world and regional business operations.

One of the key initiatives proposed last Friday was amending the property laws in the kingdom to allow foreigners to own their own homes outright. 

Currently, foreign ownership of property in Thailand is limited to a certain proportion of condominium developments and up to 49% of a Thai company.

Thailand seeks to attract 0.5% of 200 million people worldwide with an income of between ฿300,000 to ฿400,000 per month to invest and live in the country

Mr Chayotid explained that the plan was to get one million of the estimated 200 million people globally with an income of between ฿300,000 to ฿400,000 per month. 

He said that based on a monthly expenditure of ฿100,000 per month, such inward migration to the kingdom would generate ฿1.2 trillion. This alone would represent 7.5% of GDP.

In addition to boosting the country’s economic growth, such an inward flow of talent may also help support Thailand’s efforts to grow in its targeted area of S Curve industries as the country seeks to raise the value of its exports.

The meeting on Friday agreed that a ‘proactive economic plan’ will be formulated to attract this community to Thailand which would involve transforming the current regulatory environment to make it easier for such people to live and work in the country.

Target is one million high-income foreigners moving to Thailand per year says former JP Morgan boss

‘When the meeting endorses the details, state agencies will step up efforts to attract a first investor by June, with an aim of promoting investment, tourism and stimulate domestic consumption,’ said Mr Chayotid. ‘There are about 200 million of them around the world and we have set a target of drawing one million to Thailand each year.’

‘These people earn about ฿300,000 to ฿400,000 baht a month. If one million of them are here in Thailand and spend about ฿100,000 a month each, Thailand will get about 1.2 trillion baht a year from them,’ he disclosed.

Economy czar, Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow supports the new expat initiative

Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, who is also Energy Minister and the government’s economy czar, has endorsed the plan which will see the Immigration Bureau and Ministry of Labour look at the regime for visas and work permits with a view to making reforms. 

This will also include a review of current reporting requirements such as the 90-day report.

The government will examine its tax structures to find ways of offering incentives to firms to relocate their regional offices and headquarters to Thailand.

Retirees will continue to be welcome

The new plan also aims at making Thailand more welcoming to retirees who currently make up a significant proportion of the expat community in the kingdom which strongly contributes to the Thai economy.

The government will be especially looking to attract more self-employed people from countries around the world and startups to come and invest in Thailand.

Economic growth must reach 4% this year or it will be a setback for Thailand’s challenged economy

Thailand’s Finance Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, is known to be determined to push the economy towards a higher growth rate this year in the order of at least 4% citing the last two years of stultified growth followed by a 7% contraction.

The plans are supported by the Bank of Thailand which has made it clear to the government that growth rates in excess of 4% are a necessity in the next six to seven years if the kingdom is to stand any chance of emerging from the middle-income trap. 

Foreigners in Thailand should find out more about Thailand 4.0 

The kingdom is fighting off competition from countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and even Cambodia with younger populations for inward investment while the country’s labour costs look set to rise.

New pension scheme this week heralds a new era of an ageing society but this plan may be the antidote

Thailand, on Tuesday, announced a new pension scheme to deal with the kingdom’s chronic ageing problem which will become a critical economic issue in the future as the country’s working population gets older and begins to decline.

Cabinet in pension move as the number of working Thais is set to fall

It may well be that a shot in the arm from a growing expat community with both talent and money, to invest and live in Thailand, could be the answer the kingdom is looking for.

Join the Thai News forum, follow Thai Examiner on Facebook here
Receive all our stories as they come out on Telegram here
Follow Thai Examiner here

Further reading:

World Bank downgrades growth prospects as Thai economic recovery in 2021 looks still uncertain

Plan to allow high tech and skilled foreigners to live and work in Thailand for up to four years

Thailand must bite the bullet and reopen to foreign tourists from October 1st to save industry

Minister urged not to be afraid to borrow in 2021 as fears grow for a quick foreign tourism revival

Economy to rebound as the year progresses driven by exports and a return of mass foreign tourism

Door closing on quick foreign tourism return as economic recovery is delayed to the end of 2022

Refloat of foreign tourism in the 2nd half of 2021 with vaccines pushed by minister and industry for the sector

Fact – only 6,556 visitors arrived in Thailand last month compared to 3.95 million in December 2019

Desperate foreign tourism business concerns are clinging to straws as they try to survive the crisis

Finance Minister says economy must pivot away from tourism with a switch to S-Curve industries

Steady as she goes economy driven by exports and public investment with a 3.3% growth rate forecast for 2021

Thailand’s tourism boss targets thousands instead of millions as public health is prioritised above all

Thailand unlikely to reopen doors to mass-market tourism before the end of 2021 until after a full vaccination

Strengthening baht predicted as investors bet on a reopening of Thailand to mass tourism in 2021

World’s biggest free trade deal just signed will be a huge boost for the Thai economy and exports

US move against Thailand on trade is a warning as Thai exports to America boomed in September by over 19%

Thailand’s trade agenda may be complicated and thwarted by raised tensions in the Indo Pacific region

RCEP deal agreed as India opts out – busy Bangkok ASEAN summit concludes on a low key

Industry boss urges Thailand to join alternative Pacific trade pact and plan for a long recovery from virus debacle

Visa amnesty finally ending but the new regime is pragmatic and may allow for further renewals

Thai ministers set out ambitious agenda to make the kingdom the dominant digital player in ASEAN

Visa amnesty to be retrospectively extended to October 31st says top Immigration Bureau officer

About the Author

Joseph Anthony is an expat from Ireland who has lived in Thailand for the last decade. He has worked extensively in the media including editorial positions in Ireland and Thailand. He is focused on economic and business stories in Thailand as well as the expat lifestyle.

Comments

be the first to comment on this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Take Me Top