The year 2020 has been about the coronavirus pandemic. It’s affected the world, touching all spheres of life, be it economic, social or political. Countries like Singapore were favored for being the best prepared to handle the coronavirus due to their prior experience with the SARS virus that had spread across the Asian countries at rapid speed in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, it seems that the coronavirus is a more nefarious enemy that has proven far more difficult to handle than most experts had first believed.
Thailand is among the countries that have emerged to be doing a better job at dealing with the spread of the virus alongside New Zealand, whose infection rates have not skyrocketed like in many developed countries. Thailand is renowned for its tourist attractions, and this has seen the emergence of the pay to stay visa program offered by its government. The pay to stay visa program has been active for the last 17 years.
The Elite Visa Program seeks to attract expats, investors of all sectors, and long-stay groups. The membership varies based on the amount of investment put in, which ranges from 500,000 baht to 2,000,000 baht that roughly translates to (US$ 16,000 to US$64,000). The amounts paid out provide a potential expat with a five-year renewable visa in Thailand. The pay to stay visa provides a variety of perks for the investors, based on higher investment input. Such perks are top-notch modes of transportation: limousines, jets, chartered yacht, and golf championship course tickets in Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya cities.
Tourists and investors are impressed by how Thailand’s government has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic. This has led to an optimistic forecast of over 2,288 enrollees in the elite visa program this year, which is 6.8% up from previous years. This forecast has led to a projected increase in revenue of 7.7% to stand at 1.4 billion baht. This consistent growth rate is helping cushion the economy.
Thailand’s Elite Visa Program appeals to ex-pats
The pay to stay option has appealed to a good deal of expats already present in the country under other short-term type visas. The upgrade is a better option than the work visas, retirement and marriage permits. These have many stringent requirements including visits to government offices, lawyers, and banks. The greatest focus for this program is the ex-pats are already within the country, who travel to their home countries because of the lockdown situation or are not too confident with how their home countries are handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision to target the already present expats was easier and more efficient, since the government agencies already had their details. The next phase of attracting external expats is limited but will probably be looked into in 2021 when the border restrictions will be less strict. At the moment, the Chinese and Australian expats are the most elite Visa cardholders and their numbers will continue rising. There is a growing need for people to know that they can trust the government to handle any crisis with ease, thus making Thailand a favorable destination.
Interested expats must know that membership in the Elite visa program is open to anyone who meets the requirements for a long-term stay and will work towards the growth of the economy of Thailand.
Written by contributor Victor Kanake. Source: Executive Traveller