By Moustafa Daly
Thailand is issuing a new investor visa to attract investors and foreign workers to its Eastern Special Development Zone.
Also known as the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), it is a vast special economic zone comprising three provinces: Chonburi, Rayong, and Chachoengsao. The zone was set up in the early 1980s to promote industrial and commercial growth in the region.
The new investor visa was announced as part of the EEC’s five-year development plan, which aims to attract an equivalent of nearly $14 billion of foreign investments to the region until 2027.
Thailand’s EEC visa breakdown
As such, the EEC visa comes in four categories for workers and professionals in targeted industries including agritech, electronics, medical tourism, automation, and aviation.
The four visa categories are for specialists, executives, professionals, and dependents.
Investor setting up businesses in the targeted industries will have access to EEC visas for themselves and their foreign employees. These visas are to be issued for a maximum of 10 years, depending on the duration of the employment contract.
Moreover, visa holders will be eligible for a flat tax rate of 17% on their income, and gain privileged, fast-tracked access at all Thai airports.
Other investor visas in Thailand
After it comes into effect by early next year, the EEC visa will join the different routes foreign investors can use to settle in Thailand.
Foremost of these routes is the Investor Visa, requiring a minimum investment of THB 10 million (approximately $300,000) in designated areas. It’s issued for three months but can be renewed indefinitely as long as the investment is maintained.
There’s also the recently revamped Elite Visa, which grants investors with residency visas for up to 20 years if they invest up to nearly $150,000 in the country, coming with additional perks such as VIP services and healthcare benefits.
For retirees, the Retirement Visa demands proof of a monthly income or lump-sum deposit. Meanwhile, the Smart Visa targets professionals, encouraging skilled workers and experts to contribute to Thailand's economic development.
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