A digital nomad is one who has an online business and pursues freelance opportunities. Most of them work from home but also have the flexibility of working from anywhere since the work is web-based. Also, since they are their own bosses they take a vacation as they deem necessary. The challenges that come with this kind of work is that for it to pick up to a point where you can totally depend on it as your sole source of income, you need to persevere and be patient. The other thing you have to accept is learning how to work long hours and how to deal with unpredictable earnings.
Why Thailand is an ideal destination for every digital nomad
For digital nomads have the option of working from anywhere, it is no wonder that most of them try to find out if they can work from friendlier areas like Thailand. Thailand is incredibly beautiful, has a fascinating culture, and the people there are warm and hospitable. Being able to work from such a country means that you can combine work and play. That is you can work hard on your online business and still enjoy some Thailand food and experience their culture when you are free. It’s no wonder that most digital nomads are seeking to permanently work from here.
Also, when you focus on another thing like the size of the city, the climate, internet accessibility, and internet speed you find that they are all ideal conditions for a digital nomad to work in. The capital city is popular for its extravagant temples and busy markets. It is also an international hub, and their airlines offer local cheap flights.
Thailand is among the few countries in East Asia that can boast of having internet speeds of above 10 Mbps and offers quality co-working spaces. The Work Loft, for example, is a co-working space in Bangkok where you can get reliable internet and amenities such as a café and meeting rooms.
The cost of living in Thailand is also very affordable. When you go for cities like Chiang Mai, which has a touch of urban style, you can get to experience a slow-paced living at an affordable cost. You can get a fully furnished modern apartment in most of the cities from around $300 per month.
Working in Thailand is indisputably a good and exciting for any digital nomad. Everything about it is ideal for the digital nomad from the fast internet to the easy office set up options, to beautiful sites and culture to experience and even blog about, and to the affordable costs of living. The challenge comes in the visa requirements. You can’t risk working in Thailand without a work permit because this offense can land you in jail for 5 years. You can however, consider the work permit options discussed below.
• According to the law in Thailand, their definition of work does not capture what digital nomads do. Also, as a foreigner and you want to set up your work from there, the first requirement is setting up a company. In Thailand, you can’t set up a sole trader company or a limited company. The remaining alternative is to get a work permit through an employer. Their requirements for setting up a Thai company are; for every foreigner, there should be four Thai employees. There should also be a Thai partner who holds 51% of the shares and is not part of the 4 employees, 2 million Baht, and a business premise. This is not what you want to start of thinking about when all you need is a laptop and some internet to get your work done. So this option can’t work for you.
• The other option is to try entering with a non-immigrant business visa and have someone who wants to employ you. Your prospective employer will then apply for your work permit. Iglu offers a unique arrangement for digital freelancers wanting long term options in Thailand. Other options include you applying for an education visa, enroll in a college while you pursue your online work.
At the end of the day
Despite these challenges digital nomads are still flocking Thailand because the relevant authorities turn a blind eye. This is because it’s expensive to develop legal guidelines and an alternative work permit for digital nomads. They require a lot of resources to investigate any foreigner suspected of being a digital nomad. Also, they can’t prohibit someone on a legal tourist visa not to use the internet because after all, they are there legally.
So is it ok to be working in Thailand as a digital nomad? From the argument and possible alternatives presented above, that depends on how much you really need to work from Thailand. For a short period, it’s very easy because you just need a tourist visa. However, if you have long-term goals, it would be wise to do your research and get in through the proper channel instead of risking an arrest.