Thailand and Malaysia launched digital nomad visas for remote workers

Thailand and Malaysia launched digital nomad visas for remote workers

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Every year, millions of tourists travel to Southeast Asia, which is known for its tropical climate, stunning beaches, and affordable way of life. It’s also the perfect location for some travellers to live and do their business online.

The Migration Policy Institute reported in June that more than 25 nations worldwide provide visas for remote employment. That includes Spain, Italy, and Malta as well as Portugal, which mandates that remote workers earn a minimum of $2,750 per month.

However, only Malaysia and Thailand currently provide visas designed especially for digital nomads in Southeast Asia. If you’re considering applying for a digital nomad visa in Southeast Asia, you should be aware of the following.

How to apply for a visa as a digital nomad in Malaysia

On October 1, applications for Malaysia’s DE Rantau Nomad Pass were available. The minimum annual income requirement for Malaysia’s digital nomad visa is $24,000. The application for the visa costs 1,000 Malaysian ringgit, or $215, to apply for the visa.

According to the official website of the Malaysia Digital Economy, the visa permits remote employees to stay in Malaysia for up to 12 months with a three-month minimum stay requirement. The spouse and children of remote workers are also permitted to reside in Malaysia during the period of the visa’s validity, which may be extended for up to an additional 12 months.

Only remote employees employed by non-Malaysian corporations and freelancers and independent contractors who work in digital sectors like IT and internet marketing are eligible for the visa, not all digital nomads.

How to obtain a visa for a digital nomad in Thailand

According to the official website for the visa, four types of international applicants are eligible for Thailand’s Long-Term Resident Program: “Wealthy Global Citizens,” “Wealthy Pensioners,” “Highly-Skilled Professionals,” and “Work-from-Thailand Professionals.” Remote workers are eligible to apply under this category.

The cost to apply for a visa to Thailand from within the nation is 50,000 baht, or roughly $1,320.

The visa has stringent restrictions but offers tax exemption on income earned abroad. According to the visa website, remote workers must have earned at least $80,000 per year for the previous two years in order to apply.

Candidates must have at least a master’s degree, intellectual property, or, in the case of business owners, Series A funding if they don’t meet this requirement.

Additionally, candidates must work for an organisation that is publicly traded on a stock exchange, or if employed by a private corporation, the company must have generated at least $150 million in cumulative sales in the three years prior to the visa application.

Additionally, remote employees must have at least five years of experience working in the “relevant domains of the current employment.”

What other Southeast Asian nations offer visas for digital nomads?

An Indonesian remote work visa has been announced.

Digital nomads are permitted to work remotely under the B211A tourist visa, according to a statement made by Indonesia’s tourism minister Sandiaga Uno on Instagram in September, as reported by Reuters.

However, the website for Indonesia’s immigration department states that remote labour is not recognised as a legitimate activity under the visiting visa. According to a South China Morning Post report from September, there aren’t any visas in Indonesia right now that are formally reserved for remote employment.

One of the most well-liked travel spots in the area is the beach province of Bali in Indonesia. Using information from the tourist ministry, Reuters reported that from January to August, more than 3,000 digital nomads entered Indonesia.

Which visas these digital nomads were in possession of was not made clear in the report.

The B211A visa prohibits travellers from working in Indonesia, however it’s unclear whether this applies to remote or digital labour, per Indonesia’s immigration website.

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