The Thai government has introduced a four-year visa schemecalled “Smart Visa” for foreign experts with high salaries, beginning February1.

 Foreign nationals earning over THB 200,000 per month inspecialty industries such as healthcare or technology are eligible to obtainthe visa. Their families, spouses and children, are also eligible to  accompany them. The Smart Visa holders willbe eligible for four-year periods and will automatically get four-year extensions, instead of one-year extensions.Their families can also automatically receive four-year extensions.

 There is no age restriction for the Smart Visa, and it isbelieved that around 1,000 people will be applying each year. The Smart Visa targets individuals these 10 specializedfields:·        automotives, ·        electronics, ·        medical tourism, ·        agritech,·        food technology,·        robotics, ·        aviation andlogistics, ·        biochem, ·        digitaltechnology,·        medical services,equipment and pharmaceuticals. The scheme is divided into four categories:  1.      Firstcategory:  T for Talent – it includessuccessful specialists that are employed, with contracts at least 1 year longand a monthly salary of Bt200,000.

2.      Second category:I for Investors – is for investors in targeted industries with investmentcapital of no less than Bt20 million.3.      Third Category: Efor executives – includes high-level executives who work in the targetedindustries and have over 10 years of experience. They also need to be employed,with contracts at least 1 year long and a monthly salary of Bt200,000.4.      Fourth Category:S for startups – targets investors of companies that invest in targetedindustries. The S (startups) Smart Visa category, differently from the otherswill have a an initial one year visa, that can later be extended.

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 The Smart Visa program was first proposed in March 2016 byan umbrella federation of trade groups. Its goal is to lure experts andentrepreneurs with technical knowledge to stay longer in Thailand. The beautiful nature of the South-East Asian country, whichincludes many beaches and the low living costs attract many visitors.

Only in2017 the country welcomed 35 million visitors.