New 4 year professional Smart Visa expected to take effect this month

A new two to four year Smart Visa for professionals that earn more than 200,000 baht is expected to be launched this year according to a report on Khao Sod News. The new visa, which must be approved by the Board of Investment, will apply only to a limited number of professions including specialized industries such as tech, robotics, health care and others. Recipients must earn more than 200,000 baht a month. While more information is expected this month, those industries are likely to fall under the Thailand 4.0 program; automotive, electronics, medical tourism, agritech and food technology, robotics, aviation and logistics, biochem, digital technology and medical services, equipment and pharmaceuticals. According to the report the new visa could be applied for online later this year or starting this month at Thai Embassies in their respective countries or the One-Stop Service Center for Visas and Work Permits at Chamchuri Square in Bangkok. The report adds that spouses and children of the holders of the new Smart Visa will automatically get four years and that holders will only need to check in once a year instead of every 90 days.

The Cabinet endorsed the Transport Ministry’s proposal for a long-term plan to expand the current passenger terminal at Chiang Mai airport last week, boosting capacity to 20 million passengers a year from the current 10 million passengers. The expanded terminal will also have the capacity to accommodate 34 flights per week from today’s 24 flights a week. Chiang Mai handled 9.97 million passengers up to September 30, an 8.3% year-on-year rise and far exceeding the airport’s capacity of 8 million. The Cabinet also agreed for the Airports of Thailand to consider building a second airport outside the city and are looking at locations in Saraphi District of Chiang Mai province and in nearby Lamphun province. Once the visits are carried out this month, a feasibility study is expected to be ordered. The airport has already received permission for a shorter term upgrade to handle 13 million passengers by 2025. The airport, which is directly in the city, has a curfew of 12 midnight to 6 am with some late night flights, and currently handles 30,000-34,000 passengers and 200-210 aircraft movements each day.

Industrial output rose 4.2 percent from the same time last year in November, a higher than expected jump while from January-November the index rose 1.52% from a year earlier. The Industry Ministry expects output to increase 1.5% for the full year and 2% in 2018. The rise was due in large part due to increased production of rubber products, cars, and engines. Industrial goods account for 80 percent of total exports and about two-thirds of the total economy. The Bank of Thailand expects GDP to grow 3.9 percent in 2017 and also in 2018. Exports grew 16 percent year on year in November, with the auto sector seeing 9.53 percent growth, and rubber jumped 23 percent due to high demand from China.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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