The Thai government is considering reviewing immigration rules this year to make it easier for long-term foreigners and tourists to stay in the country. This is part of a strategy to boost investment and tourism revenues once the virus pandemic wears off.
The proposed changes could mean that foreigners no longer have to submit residence reports to immigration every 90 days – a very unpopular rule, especially with the online filing system down for over a month. Foreigners attempting to submit their application online are greeted with a flashy animation that depicts immigration in a mesmerizing light, followed by a simple text message stating that the system is ‘temporarily closed for maintenance.
Immigration rules are the main pain point for expats living in Thailand, said Chayotid Kridakorn, 54, who heads a government working group to facilitate investment in Thailand, wants to make it easier for foreigners to live and work in Thailand. .
The authorities believe that facilitating the influx of skilled workers for foreign companies and retired Thailand will boost the economy, which suffered its worst slump in more than two decades last year.
According to the Bank of Thailand, GDP growth will not return to pre-Covid levels until the third quarter of 2022. A detailed framework to boost investment and tourism is expected to be presented to the Government’s Economic Committee within a month, including improving regulations on immigration, visa applications and work permits for foreign experts, including relaxation of requirements for foreign workers.
The framework will also include incentives for foreign investors such as corporate tax cuts, relaxed real estate ownership rules and incentives for retirees and start-ups.