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Legal Update

Foreign-Investor Friendly Measures

22 October 2008
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update
Summary

Thailand's Board of Investment ("BOI") has recently launched several measures to enhance the country's foreign investment appeal.

BOI is the government department responsible for stimulating investor confidence, promoting investment and encouraging entrepreneur development to enhance Thailand's overall global competitiveness. 

Full Update

The new BOI measures are as follows:

Establishment of a Special Unit

A special unit has been created in the One-Stop Service Centre at the BOI to provide fast and efficient services for both BOI-promoted and non-BOI promoted investors. The unit provides information on the legal and regulatory measures and requirements for doing business in Thailand.  It also coordinates with other government offices for all inquiries regarding investment regulatory issues. 

Right to Use Express Lane

An immigration express lane is now available at Suvarnabhumi Airport for experts and executives of BOI approved companies. 

Experts (executives, skilled labour and specialists) who are granted permission to enter Thailand for the purpose of investment under the Investment Promotion Act can use the "Diplomatic & Official, APEC, BOI" lanes by presenting their validated passports.

Executives of BOI-promoted companies who are travelling from abroad to Thailand may also use the "Diplomatic & Official, APEC, BOI" lanes upon their arrival. They only have to contact BOI at least seven days before their departure for Thailand and provide their name, position, passport number and flight details.

Reduction of Processing Time to 15 Days

All projects proposing investments of less than THB 40 million will be processed within 15 working days instead of the normal 40 days under the following conditions:

  • The THB 40 million capital investment should be exclusive of working capital and cost of land
  • The project must not have any environmental impact issues or require an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • The project must only use new machinery
  • The project must add value by at least 20% of project revenue (except for agriculture and processing of agricultural products, electronics and electrical parts, and service businesses)

However, projects involving the production of software regardless of investment capital shall be processed within 15 days.  Applications for promotion privileges can be submitted at the Office of the BOI or the Software Industry Promotion Agency.

The BOI reserves the right to revert to the normal 40-working day processing period if an investment project fails to submit all the required information within five days from the date of submission of the application.

Bringing in More Qualified Experts

The BOI has been working closely with the Ministry of Labour and Immigration Bureau to create measures to facilitate the entry to Thailand of foreign qualified experts, starting with the IT industry. 

IT specialists can now also use the One-Stop Service Centre for Visas and Work Permits.

Moreover, BOI has recently deregulated two immigration procedures as follows:

  • Foreign investors on a temporary stay (less than 15 days) are not obliged to report in person to the Department of Employment. Their representatives can submit the required documents
  • For the renewal of the one-year Non-Immigrant B visa, the Immigration Bureau shall consider the stability and reliability of the financial status of the applying business instead of shareholders' equity and company revenue
Conclusion

These measures are part of the government's "Thailand Investment Year 2008-2009" campaign launched earlier this year. BOI is constantly consulting with the foreign business community in order to formulate various policies that will facilitate investment and simplify doing business in Thailand.
Competition for foreign investment in the Southeast Asia region and worldwide has motivated the BOI to develop, modify and increase its efforts to attract foreign investment. BOI hopes that these measures are a step in the right direction.  

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