Work Permit for Expatriates in Thailand
Who can apply for a Work Permit?
To apply for a work permit, you must have either a non immigrant visa or a residence permit. Ideally, you must also have a non-immigrant visa must be obtained before entering Thailand. A residence permit is usually granted only after you have lived in Thailand for at least 3 consecutive years under a non-immigrant visa. Your employer or potential employer may file an application for advance permission for permission to work before you arrive in Thailand. However, the work permit itself will not be issued until you arrive in Thailand on a valid non-immigrant visa.
If you will not be working in Bangkok, the application is filed at the nearest Provincial (Changwat) Department of Employment Office. All supporting documents usually must be translated into Thai with appropriate certification.
The following documents must be submitted when you apply for a work permit. Note that Thai labor officials make changes in the list of required documents whenever they consider appropriate:
- Application form (Tor. Thor. 2) and 3 ID photos, front view and 5×6 cm. in size (taken not more than 6 months).
- Letter from employer certifying employment and reasons for not employing Thai national.
- Employment agreement.
- Copy of the company’s affidavit certified by the Commercial Registration Department (taken not more than 6 months).
- Copy of list of shareholders certified by the Commercial Registration Department (taken not more than 6 months).
- Copy of certificate of incorporation.
- Copy of Taxpayer Card, VAT certificate or Phor. Por. 01 and 09.
- Copy of current balance sheet with profit and loss showing total assets.
- Copy of Phor. Ngor. Dor. 50 (Corporate Income Tax Return) including receipt.
- Organizational chart.
- List of all expatriate(s) in the company indicating position and work permit number(s).
- Copies of educational certificates and letters of recommendation from previous employment.
- Copies of all pages of passport showing the valid Non?Immigrant Visa (B or O).
- Copies of all pages of the work permit of the authorized director showing the valid date (if the authorized director is a foreigner).
- A medical certificate certifying that the applicant is free from prohibited diseases (taken not more than 3 months).
- Power of attorney affixed with Baht 10 duty stamp.
- Map of the company’s location.
- Official form for notification of commencement of work (Tor.Thor. 10).
- Other relevant document(s), if any.
- Copy of Phor. Por. 30 for the previous 6 months including receipt (for new companies only)
All photocopies of documents must be certified as true copies by the authorized director(s) and affixed with the company seal. If the application is to be filed by another person, a valid Power of Attorney in the prescribed form must be attached with an affixed Baht 10 duty stamp.
On the application form, the job description entry must be completed with a detailed description of the job to be performed, how it is related to other employees, and what materials will be used in the said job. If the job applied for requires a license under a particular law in addition to the Alien Employment Act, a photocopy of such license, e.g., a teacher’s license, physician’s license, press card from the Public Relations Department, certificate of missionary status from the Religious Affairs Department, etc. must also be attached.
If you are married to a Thai national, the marriage certificate must be presented along with your spouse’s identity card, birth certificates of children, household registration certificate, and a photocopy of every page of your passport. If you are applying for a position previously held by another foreigner, a photocopy of your predecessor’s work permit, together with his/her notice of resignation from the company or a letter confirming his/her intended date of departure must be presented.
How long are Work Permits granted?
Thai work permits are valid only as long as your visa allows you to remain in Thailand. That Also, a work permit is good only for the particular job for which it was issued and within the geographic limitations specified in the work permit. Working in a position or at a location other than that specifically approved is grounds for termination of your permit. You may hold more than one position with one or more employers but you must obtain permission for each position and for each employer. Generally, the permission for each position is entered in the original work permit record.
Exceptions to the Alien Employment Act permit foreigners to perform work without a permit if they are deemed necessary and urgent which can be completed within 15 days. However, the Department of Employment must be informed before such work begins.
Exemptions from Work Permits
The following are exempt from work permit requirements:
- Members of the diplomatic corps
- Members of a consular mission
- Representatives and officials of the United Nations and its specialized agencies
- Personal servants from abroad employed by any of the above
- Persons who perform duties or missions under agreement between the government of Thailand and another foreign government or international organization
- Persons who perform duties or missions for the benefit of education, culture, arts, sports, or other activities as may be sanctioned by royal decree
- Persons with special permission from the government of Thailand to enter and perform duties or missions in the Kingdom
Penalties for Work Permit Violations
Working without a valid work permit is a criminal offense. Penalties include imprisonment of not exceeding 5 years or a fine from Baht 2,000 to Baht 100,000, or both. In the case you agree to travel out of Thailand within the period of time prescribed by the interrogating officer, which must not be later than 30 days, the interrogating officer may impose a fine and make arrangements for you to travel out of Thailand. Foreigners who do work reserved solely for Thais will be fined of up to Baht 20,000. A company or employer that hires a foreigner without a valid work permit is subject to a fine from Baht 10,000 to Baht 100,000 for each foreign worker/employee.
Therefore, you must always have a photocopy of his/her work permit available when traveling, and be prepared to show it upon arrival in Thailand.
One-Stop Service Center
The One-Stop Service Center was established to make the processing of visas and work permits for qualified foreign investors, experts and correspondents easier. Here, visas and work permits are issued within 3 hours. In general, the processing of visas is handled by the Immigration Bureau, while the processing of work permits is handled by the Department of Employment, which normally take about 10 to 14 working days. The following investors, executives, or experts, including their family members, are qualified to submit applications here:
- An executive or expert who has been granted privileges under the Investment Promotion Act, the Petroleum Act, or the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand.
- An individual investor who brings in money from abroad of not less than Baht 2 million for the purchase of shares in a private company.
- An executive or expert working with a company whose fully paid?up registered capital or whose operational fund is not less than Baht 30 million.
- Aliens who work for the foreign press.
- Alien researchers and developers in science and technology.
- Alien officers of branch offices of overseas banks, foreign banking offices of overseas banks in Bangkok, provincial foreign banking offices of overseas banks, and representative offices of foreign banks.
- Aliens who come to work for branch, representative, or regional offices of overseas enterprises.