Affordable residency visas offered through Thai condo purchases

Thai government aims to drive the real estate sector by increasing foreign investment

View of modern residential buildings from Benjakiti Park in Bangkok, Thailand. petcharaPJ/Shutterstock

Thailand will be offering foreign buyers free or discounted residency visas through property purchases to help the declining real estate market recover. The deal was approved by the government in early November, allowing only the purchase of condos or apartments, reported Nikkei Asia.

According to Somchai Soongswang, president of Thailand Privilege Card, buyers will be given a free or discounted five-year residency visa valued at THB500,000 (USD16,501), once they’ve purchased one or more units worth THB10 million (USD33,200).

The visa, also referred to as Elite Flexible One, encompasses various perks, including expedited immigration and passport control, a VIP guide at the airport, complimentary limousine service from the airport 24 times a year, and more.

Somchai also revealed that property purchases can’t be under construction, and the program should be set afloat in the first quarter of 2021, running for 24 months.

According to him, “developers have a lack of cash flow, some have high debt, and the new program will help them not lay off staff.”

More: Thailand’s property market shows optimism for Q4 2020

Sansiri and Pruksa, some of Thailand’s major developers, have each released hundreds of workers not long ago. If the government falls through in recovering the sector, more than 2,000 workers from property companies might be unemployed, mentioned Pornnarit Chuanchaisit, president of the Thai Real Estate Association.

For the past few years, Bangkok and other most-visited destinations like Phuket and Pattaya have been under a condo-construction frenzy due to the inflow of buyers from countries like mainland China, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

However, the activity has been disrupted this year, with no buyers and many deferred purchasing plans.

The current elite visas (not tied with property buying) have already achieved 2,674 new members in the end of September. To keep up with the trend, Thailand Privilege Card launched another visa package, Elite Maxima Health, valued at THB1.5 million (USD49,505) for five years, in hopes to continue attracting overseas money.