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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawIs There Really No Need for Work Permits with Thai Smart Visas?

Is There Really No Need for Work Permits with Thai Smart Visas?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Smart Visas. For those who are unaware, this is a relatively new creation of Thai Immigration Authorities and the Thai Government here. It is kind of meant to promote entrepreneurs, certain talent investment here in Thailand. They can be issued for longer durations as opposed to certain standard Business Visas.

In a recent article from Pattaya Mail, that is, the article is titled: Thailand to Amend Immigration Rules to Lure 1 Million Wealthy Foreigners. Quoting directly: "Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said that the Government's top economic committee had approved in principle a number of measures for the post pandemic era." Quoting further: "Top of the list is the Smart Visa for investors, skilled workers and entrepreneurs in S-curve industries such as robotics, biofuels, electronics, renewable energy and medical hub. The attractions include abolition of the 90 day address reporting to Immigration, fast track passage at airports and no need to have a separate Work Permit." 

Now that is true on its face. There is no need for a standard Work Permit here in Thailand with respect to the Smart Visa program but as we have discussed at length in other videos on this channel, there is still an adjudication with regard to work authorization. In my opinion it all comes out in the wash for lack of a better term. You end up being adjudicated with your visa for your work authorization and these Smart Visas, it is not a foregone conclusion you are going to get them. Frankly, our experience with them is although they are possible to obtain, they are not just a walk in the park. It is not like you just throw some documents at somebody and they just issue this. No, there is a substantial amount of scrutiny that is imposed upon these applications and the documentation associated with Corporate Sponsorship associated with them and for that reason yeah strictly speaking you don't have to deal with a Work Permit but in many ways it can be a little bit more of a cumbersome process notwithstanding the lack of need for a Work Permit. 

Again, it is going to be circumstantially dependent when you are comparing scenarios but my opinion is as I said, it all comes out in the wash. There is no real need for the Work Permit because it is inherent to the Visa but they still do the same adjudication, the same scrutiny they would with a Work Permit when they are issuing the Visa anyway.