Why the Thai Digital Nomad Visa is useless

foreigners getting arrested in Thailand

You may have seen lots of excited chatter about the new “nomad visa” in Thailand, as well as the fact that many more passports are now visa free. Before you buy your ticket and move to Thailand on a digital nomad visa there are though a number of factors you should consider.

Thailand is of course one of the most beautiful and friendly countries that you can live, but much like anywhere this only tells part of the story. The new nomad visa for example has huge costs, a low tax threshold and does not allow you to work. And this is without even getting to the elephant in the room! The reality sadly is that not only do Thai authorities not really like barang, but your risk of arrest, or worse are now higher than they really should be.

The new Thai Digital Nomad Visa

The new Thai digital nomad visa has been celebrated by many online, particularly those who are already part of the Thai expat scene. Said visa costs 10,000 Baht – $280 and allows nomads to stay for 180 days from where they must leave and should they wish to stay pay another $280 to stay. This is as opposed to the current 60 day stays, so yeah not all that much different, particularly if you travel.

And what do you get for this? It seems that you get the ability to be arrested, with anyone staying in Thailand technically having to pay tax on outside income, as well as the possibility of being taxed.

Alongside said visa Thailand also announced that foreigners resident in the country will also have to pay tax on from earnings, which starts at 5% for $4000 and up to 20% for those earning $23,000+, so not all that much.

Most scarily though is that in the current climate Thailand are more than likely to push this through and act on aggressively. Again leaving a proper retirement visa that takes you somewhere like Hua Hin as a much safer option.

Working illegally in Thailand could see you in prison

While foreigners have been getting arrested in Thailand for many years it has generally been opined that most of them deserved it. This is something that has really seemed to change over recent years. Most of those now arrested seem to have come from the illegal working arena.

And while this is technically illegal news coming out of the Kingdom frequently reports on people such as yoga teaches ending up in prison, as well as people being piss tested in bars and the like. Effectively was is being done is massively disproportionate and not conducive to a happy life regardless of what is said about the Thai Digital Nomad Visa.

In the interests of this article I will completely ignore that fact that the current “government” are extremely questionable about freedom of speech, with a bad TripAdvisor review potentially meaning jail time.

The Thai Digital Nomad Visa vs Cambodian Work Visa

Yet while we do not consider the Thai Digital Nomad visa worth the while, there is a fabulous alternative that quite ironically could be used to live in Thailand, and that is a Cambodian Work Visa.

A Cambodian work visa can be gotten from an agent within the country and merely requires one exit before you can then stay one year. This visa costs from $500-600, BUT not only does it grant you the right to stay, but also the ability to work anywhere in Cambodia, as well as open your own bank account.

If a digital nomad wanted to be super legit too they could also register as self-employed and pay tax. Regardless of if they do this, or not your chances of getting arrested in the much friendlier Cambodia are much lower than if you choose to roll the dice by moving to Thailand.