The Thai government has started offering „elite“ residency visas for wealthy foreign citizens, allowing them to live in the country for around $3,000 (2,403) a year, aimed at capitalising on increased global uncertainty over borders and immigration.
There are seven different packages, with the most expensive being the „Elite Ultimate Privilege“ scheme.
It costs $60,000 for 20 years residency, along with a $600 a year membership fee.
Included in the price is a state-sponsored concierge programme, entitling members to VIP access to government agencies dealing with immigration, driving licences, and work permits.
The government will also provide complimentary return airport transfers, an annual health check up at a private hospital and 24 spa treatments and golfing trips a year.
The special residence visa is issued by the Thailand Privilege Card – a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Pruet Boobphakam, president of the Thailand Elite program, told Business Insider that VIP residents would get extra help from the government: „We rise to the occasion for our members. We can apply for a work permit if they’d like to. We can apply for a driving licence if they’d like to. We are helping them to get those licences.“
He said he expects more than 1,000 people to apply for the programme, which is aimed at retirees.
Other packages include a $15,000 deal for five years with no annual fee called „Elite Easy Access,“ and also a 10-year, $30,000 membership that includes discounts for family members.
THAILAND ELITE originated from a singular goal: to present to our esteemed foreign guests Thailand“s finest vacationing and business experiences in several unique and special packages. In July 2003, Thailand Privilege Card the operator of Thailand Elite Card, gained state-owned enterprise status within the Tourism Authority of Thailand („TAT“), its sole shareholder.