Depa to verify Smart visas starting Feb 1

Depa to verify Smart visas starting Feb 1

From left  Depa’s Nattapon Nimmanpatcharin, Ajarin Pattanapanchai and Teeranun Srihong at the opening of Asia Digital Expo 2018.

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The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) is ready to verify Smart visas for experts and investors in startups and digital business, offering a four-year work permit from Feb 1.

“Depa will verify qualified persons for the Smart visa, an initiative approved by the cabinet to reduce the shortage of experts and accelerate the digital transformation towards Thailand 4.0,” said Nattapon Nimmanpatcharin, director-general of Depa.

Speaking at Asia Digital Expo: Digital Transformation, which runs through Saturday at Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Mr Nattapon said Depa is authorised to verify experts related to digital technologies and startups.

The Smart visa scheme allows four groups of people to work in Thailand for four years, though they need to report annually. A tourist visa lets foreigners in for up to 90 days, after which they need to reapply for extensions.

The first group is technology experts, such as those working with data, data analytics and mechatronics.

The second is foreigners working in startups or individuals who plan to open startups in Thailand, who will need to open the business within one year of obtaining the Smart visa.

The third is investors who are interested in Thailand, particularly in the 10 S-curve sectors, for which Depa will be responsible for the digital sector. A minimum investment of 20 million baht is required.

The fourth is high-level executives in S-curve sectors.

“Depa will verify startups who work in the network alliance and their partners’ references, including new startups in which Depa has joint investment,” Mr Nattapon said.

The Smart visa was approved by the cabinet last week. The policy requires collaboration across ministries and agencies, including the Board of Investment.

Mr Nattapon said Depa will ask the cabinet to approve 1.6 billion baht this month to set up an Internet of Things institute in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

The institute will stimulate the use of IoT in targeted sectors such as automotive, food and agriculture. The institute will need 2½ years for construction.

In the next few months, Depa will form the International IoT Consortium by inviting collaboration from overseas IoT service providers.

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