Thailand – Residence and Citizenship Trends – Asian Wealth Management and Private Banking in Asia


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1. Is Thailand an interesting choice for the Residence and for what types of clients?

2. What are the trends in residential and investment migration with wealthy Thai families?

3. What is the current situation when people seek to enter Thailand today?

4. Are there other government initiatives and incentives that you haven’t mentioned?

Video transcript

1. Is Thailand an interesting choice for the Residence and for what types of clients?

I think Thailand is a great option for those looking for a residence. There are great tax incentives in Thailand. There is also a great lifestyle in Thailand. I think Thailand in general also has a very easy way of life. It is easy to get to the beach. It’s easy to live in a metropolis like Bangkok with a very high standard of living at a very low cost, especially compared to other places in the neighborhood. In Southeast Asia, if you look at Singapore and Hong Kong, their standard of living is quite high but the rent is quite high. Regarding residency by investment in the region, the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program has been on temporary hiatus for two years. Thus, the Malaysian government has just announced that it will relaunch the program. But the way it has been redesigned is not so appealing to those who already have MM2H visas and those looking to acquire MM2H residency. Some of the fixed deposit requirements have increased by over 500%, as well as the liquid asset requirements increased by around 300%. Thus, we consider that there is going to be a fairly significant exodus of MM2H members coming to Thailand, in particular under the Thailand Elite Visa program. It is a long-term visa. It’s a privileged entry visa, which allows you to stay in the country for five, 10, or 20 years, and I think internationally it’s one of the most profitable residency programs. . So besides staying in the country for, say, tax benefits, for the standard of living as well, there is also a very incentive-based residency program that allows people to keep in touch. I think a lot of our clients who come to the country right now, not only are they, say, digital nomads, but they run companies from Singapore, Hong Kong, or Manila, and they want to reside in Bangkok on the basis of, say, the standard of life and how attractive Thai culture is. But also, we get quite a few people from last year just during the COVID pandemic. It has actually caused a lot of people to reconsider their options internationally. So in some more developed economies, North America, UK, France, Germany, people are starting to consider Thailand. This is based on how their governments have sometimes handled the COVID situation, but also because their global mobility has been so affected during this pandemic that they never thought it would have happened before. Now they are planning to come to Thailand so they have the option when they want to come to a nice beach vacation home if needed.

2. What are the trends in residential and investment migration with wealthy Thai families?

For a lot of wealthy families here in Thailand right now, I think the Caribbean programs have always been very popular, not only because of the cost of the programs but also the speed of processing and the time it takes to process applications. So while some countries may take maybe 12 months, 12 and a half months like your European countries do for citizenship and residency through investment programs, Caribbean programs may only take six to eight months, and this is the longest scenario. A Thai passport can only allow you visa-free travel to 76 different countries at the moment, and one of the Caribbean countries would provide a Thai citizen with access to over 150 countries. So this is a very easy sale I guess for a lot of Thai families. Many Thai families also feel the urge to travel, live abroad, and do business abroad. Some families also want to consider their lineage, and they want to be able to pass their citizenship on to their sons, daughters, grandsons or granddaughters, and so on. The Caribbean programs are quite interesting in that sense, as is the Portuguese program at the moment. With the changes in the schedule coming in 2022, many people are currently flocking to Portugal to try to enter and reside in the EU through Portugal, and also to invest in real estate.

3. What is the current situation when people seek to enter Thailand today?

Interesting question because the situation seems to change almost daily. Initially, the government said it would only allow nationals of 46 countries to enter the country without quarantine, assuming they were already doubly vaccinated. Since this was launched, the government has now added additional countries, so now a total of 63 countries can enter the country. Assuming they are vaccinated, they can also enter without quarantine. If not vaccinated, arrivals should spend 10 days in quarantine. However, this is a big step forward. The government is starting to open up the country a little with test areas like Phuket, Bangkok, and tourist areas like Pattaya. Suddenly, the government is opening up, and they are eager, I think, to move forward especially as the peak season approaches. The weather is getting cold in Europe and North America too, so many tourists seek to come here to stay warm while on vacation.

4. Are there other government initiatives and incentives that you haven’t mentioned?

There are actually a few new initiatives. There is an initiative put forward by the BOI. It is a long-term initiative. However, it has only been approved for consideration by the National Council for Economic and Social Development, and it should be reviewed perhaps in the first quarter of next year. The Thailand Elite Visa, however, issues a new visa. For the first time, it will allow elite visa holders to actually work in Thailand. The Elite Flexible Plus program provides a two-year work permit and allows the family of the principal applicant to also stay in the country on visas for the same duration. It is based on a $ 1 million investment that could be either starting a business, a fixed deposit, or stocks and bonds. It remains to be seen if there are other requirements as well or what will be some specifics of the program, but its launch is currently scheduled for January 2022.

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