This important step is part of a wider programme to attract more foreigners to Thailand to live.
However, the government is also determined that these new residents must have the ability to generate wealth and prosperity for the kingdom’s wider economy.
The proposed legal provision has yet to be ratified by the cabinet and there are already signs that ministers are aware of the politically sensitive nature of the plan.
A high powered Thai government committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha has approved in principle a proposal to allow select foreigners who qualify for newly approved 10-year visas to own small landholdings in connection with their homes.
The proposal was agreed on January 21st last by the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) while other plans to extend lease terms for foreigners and allow more foreign ownership of condominium developments were rejected.
The news is linked with an ongoing programme, first announced last April, to attract 1 million foreigners to come and live in Thailand over the next five years, a move which it is hoped could generate 5 to 6% of the country’s GDP in the future.
A select committee within the Thai government has approved a measure in principle to allow certain qualified foreigners to own land in Thailand going forward but limited to one rai or approximately 0.4 acres or 0.16 hectares, strictly for residential purposes.
The decision was reportedly made on Friday the 21st of January at a meeting of the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) and is part of the initiative being led by Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow to lure up to 1 million foreigners to come to live in Thailand.
The plans were first revealed last April. This initiative is headed up by a committee chaired by Mr Chayotid Kridakon, a former managing director of JP Morgan Thailand.
The project, which aims to generate ฿1 million per year in internal economic activity alone from each foreigner who comes to live in Thailand, could conceivably lead to economic activity or GDP valued at $1 trillion per annum if its targets are achieved.
Based on 2020’s GDP of $501.8 billion or ฿16.743 trillion, this could represent up to between 5 and 6% of the country’s GDP going forward in addition to foreign tourism.
Over the last two years of the pandemic, Thailand’s officials have also firmly established the overlapping links between Thailand’s critically important foreign tourism industry and the country’s growing foreign resident or expat community which is also linked to attracting inward investment and talent into the kingdom.
This initiative, announced last year, is progressing and has already led to a 10-year visa provision being approved by the Ministry of the Interior.
One was a new long term residency visa for 10 years in respect of those qualifying for the new initiative and the other was a measure that will allow foreigners more flexible working conditions in Thailand.
The new measures will be used to facilitate the government’s advancing plans to attract four classes of well off foreigners to come and live in Thailand for ten years.
These include wealthy retirees from around the world, well off individuals who can afford to invest in Thailand, high earning professionals who are willing to relocate to Thailand for an improved lifestyle and highly skilled individuals who either possess critical or patented technology that can assist with the growth of Thailand’s economy and its efforts to become a high tech, high earning country over the next two decades.