Smart Visa: More Privileges for foreign specialists in arbitration
At the end of last year, the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI) announced a new regulation with additional changes regarding Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services. This regulation would allow foreigners with high-skilled professionals in ADR and particularly in the arbitration field to apply for a special temporary residence permit also called “Smart Visa”. The BOI’s guidelines using the term “high-skilled professionals” refers to arbitration cases’ advisors and other professionals such as translators or experts.
People meeting the requirements for Smart Visa will get extraordinary benefits compared with the standard visa. For instance, Smart Visa lasts 4 years and it could be extended for another 4 years. Foreigners, that works in arbitration-related matters are not required to obtain a work permit, moreover, they are not required to report themselves every 90 days but once a year. Foreign arbitration specialists are also granted unlimited re-entry in Thailand (re-entry permit) and benefit from the express-track or fast-track at the international airport to enter or leave the country. Besides, spouses and children of foreign specialists have the right to stay and work in Thailand. This permit has the same length of the Smart Visa and is subjected to the limitations provided in the Administrative Decree on Alien work 2017 and amendments. In any case, children are allowed to work only after turning 18 accordingly to the Labor Protection Act 1998.
The Smart Visa is an important measure to attract high-skilled professionals in the field of arbitration, allowing travels to Thailand in a more convenient way. However, foreigners must receive the Smart Visa before start working, otherwise, they could be punished under the Foreign Work Management Ordinance 2017. The application process for Smart Visa requires approximately 30 business days, so it is not suitable for urgent matters.