The Problem with Digital Nomads in Thailand
More and more digital nomads are moving to Thailand, it's now almost at the point where if you want to become a digital nomad, living in Thailand is almost like a right of passage. I'm all for people coming to Thailand to work on their own startup but what really urkes me about the digital nomads that are coming to Thailand is the complaints on the visa and associated costs. The ultimate bullshit is that a lot of these digital nomads think they are helping the country so much that they should have the right to stay in Thailand indefinitely and only pay $50 a month for the privilege.
Noone actually says it like that though, they usually say they can't afford to pay the 500k for an Elite Card, they don't want to learn the language on an ED visa they just want to stay here and sip lattes all day while using free WiFi. They're in a startup, not ready to start a company and hire local talent, so please, just let them stay here for nothing, the mantra they are really repeating.
At age 21 I moved to the USA with no job and my life savings $10,000 in my pocket to realize my dream of living in the USA, don't tell me in 2015 you can't save up $15,000 to start your life journey, if you can't you're probably going to fail anyway cause you're not dedicated enough. If you're a digital nomad why are we having this discussion anyway? Shouldn't you be travelling the world instead of complaining about the difficulties of trying to stay in Thailand?
Digital Nomads love Thailand because it has good infrastructure and is insanely cheap compared to the west and lets be honest, the best food of any country at the same cost of living standard. Do digital nomads help Thailand? They send a shit load of money into Thailand right? Wrong! Most digital nomads don't make a lot of money especially if they are working on a startup, but even those that do make a lot of money only bring in enough money they require for daily living. yet all these people use all the government infrastructure from water to roads and pay neglegable amounts in tax which if you think about their main expenses rent and food, little is going into the governments pocket at all if any. And lets face it, even if you did pay a lot to the government how much do you really think is going to help the Thai people anyway? In fact the most these guys pay are the visa fees which they all complain about. Get over it.
What the digital nomads are getting louder about these days is there idea that there should be a visa for digital nomads. Most of these people couldn't live the same existence if it wasn't for taking advantage of currency and economic differences between their own country and Thailand. They add little to no value to the skillsets of the local population. They like to claim that having a digital nomad visa will effectively allow them to be self employed and pay taxes, when they eventually figure out that the taxes they pay will be more than the Elite Card they'll go get the Elite Card and say that the visa doesn't work.
In this video which is basically an advertisement for a digital nomad filmmaker who's raising money to produce a film about digital nomads (ironically using video from this site). You have a couple of Thai nobodies talking about how digital nomads should have a type of visa so they can live in Thailand and do their thing yet at the same time discussing the cons of such a system, basically it would allow sexpats to come to Thailand and take advantage of Thailand's women.
What a load of crap, for starters most sex tourists don't even live in Thailand, they'll come for 3-6months and leave maybe coming once a year. I've been here for so long now I don't know many people at all who live here solely to bang prostitutes all day every day. And you know what, those that do, spend a lot more money in this country than a whole co-working space full of digital nomads.
I've helped pay for 2 high shool diplomas, sent a girl to University, taught a thai girl to build websites which I guess technically she's now a digital nomad, I've started brick and mortar businesses and employed dozens of Thai people, I can speak the language, and you'd be surprised how many Thai girls I've dated that ask me or I've corrected them on Thai culture and customs. But because I've fucked a few hundred prostitutes in Thailand I'm the kind of guy they don't want here. When I was 17 I completed my student exchange program in Thailand, I was sitting at home when 4 teachers from my school picked me up and took me to a soapy massage. This was my final lesson in Thai Culture. I didn't bring prostitution to Thailand, it was already here and deep within the culture, i'm just trying to fit in. I'm not alone either there are hundreds of VIP members on this site with similar stories, and thousands of businessmen around the country that do the same thing. Stop demonizing sexpats!
If you're a digital nomad why on earth would you need a long term visa for anyway? aren't you a nomad? Most like to say that they would be happy to pay taxes, yet monitarily the biggest advantage to being a digital nomad is that you live in a country only long enough to avoid paying any taxes, being a digital nomad should mean you're not going to stay in Thailand for more than a few months, otherwise you're not a digital nomad you're a location independent freelancer/entrepreneur/employee trying to live in a country you have no logical right to do so indefinitely.
I'm from Australia, would Australians want a bunch of Chinese nationals living and working in Australia for a Chinese company where there is absolutely no benefit to Australias? Fuck No. Open a company and hire some Australians to do the job or go back to China. There's no reason digital nomads should have the right to live long term or forever in any country based solely on their "digital nomad status".
I have to laugh when I watched this video when the guy says "we used to have a lot of problems with people abusing visa's". They havn't fixed anything, requirements have changed a little but like most governments if you fill in your forms and provide the correct paperwork you're allowed to stay, you think people who wanted to live here a long time still aren't abusing ED visas, setting up bogus companies to get work permits? Or paying lawyers to help facilitate the fake application of university courses, NGO's handing out volunteer visas for money, and now with the 5 year Elite visa I'd argue it's just as easy as ever if only just a bit more expensive and sometimes more time consuming but if you want to stay in Thailand and avoid paying taxes there are still dozens of ways to do it.