Thailand To Allow Foreigners To Hold Land Ownership

The Thai government has announced that it would allow high-income foreigners to fully own land for residential use in the country, hoping to boost the domestic economy.
For decades, Thailand has been considered a popular destination for expats seeking to invest abroad, start new small businesses, or find a new place to live after retirement. However, the land ownership policies were very strict.
Now, authorities plan to ease such restrictions and allow wealthy foreigners to fully own land for residential purposes. According to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the move intends to lure high-spending residents from overseas to boost economic recovery and increase the country’s income.
If the cabinet approves the plan, foreign expats will be able to own up to one rai (0.16 hectares) in land from September. As the main requirements, they must invest at least 40 million baht or more in Thai property, funds or securities over three years and meet the criteria established by the Interior Ministry, Mr. Thanakorn added.
The move is part of the government’s plan to increase the country’s income through foreign investment by wealthy residents willing to move to the kingdom.
Last year, the Thai government adopted a stimulus plan in an effort to attract “high potential” foreigners while encouraging them to make long-term investments in the nation.
The plan intended to target wealthy foreign retirees or pensioners, as well as high-skilled specialists or experts in various fields. Those who want to establish their work base in the kingdom can also benefit from the move.
Back then, the government spokesman said authorities expected to attract up to one million foreigners within those categories in the next five years.
The government estimated that foreigners’ expenses and investments could inject one trillion baht into the kingdom’s economy during that period.
Various incentives have been approved for affluent foreigners since then, including long-term resident (LTR) visas and work permits.
Mr. Thanakorn said the Land Department is drafting the regulations and requirements to allow expats’ land ownership.
The announcement has received mixed reviews from the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
Thai Chamber of Commerce’ chairman Sanan Angubolkul said that attracting foreign residents for the long-term could be a boon to the construction and real estate sector but he suggested the government add more requirements, such as allowing them to only purchase first-hand land and property or resell it only to Thai nationals.
However, Pornpana Kuaycharoen, Founder and Coordinator of Land Watch Thai, disagreed with the decision, questioning who would really benefit from the policy and fearing it would hurt Thais.