If you are thinking of working in Thailand, there are some important details and legal requirements you need to know and fulfil in order to obtain a work permit in Thailand and thus ensure a smooth transition while working there. The process and relevant documentation will be discussed in the following article.
To Start the Process
In order to travel to Thailand a Non-immigrant business visa is needed to enter the country. This visa can be applied for at the relevant Thai Embassy or consulate as there may not be one available in your country. This must be obtained prior to the visit as this is the only type of visa which makes a person eligible to apply for a work permit in Thailand. If you have a regular non-immigrant visitor’s or tourist visa, it can be changed to a non-immigrant Business visa at the immigration office, if you are already in the country.
Where to Obtain the Work Permit
The Labour Department has the responsibility of issuing permits to non-natives. Before making the application for the permit, the applicant must already have secured employment. The company you will be employed to will also need to support the application process by producing the following documentation:
- VAT registration documents
- List of company shareholders
- Company certificate and objectives
- Company’s withholding tax documents
- Financial statement
- An office map
- A copy of the director’s passport and work permit with affixed signature
- Employment letter outlining the applicant’s job description and salary
- Employment agreement
In addition to these documents, there other requirements the company must fulfil as Thai rules are quite stringent when it comes to the type of jobs non-natives are allowed to hold. The company must therefore meet these additional criteria:
- Regarding the number of Thai employees within the company eligible for Social Security Funds should be:
- At least one Thai employee for a foreign company which has been registered as a branch or representative office in Thailand.
- At least two Thai employees if the foreigner being employed is married to a Thai national.
- At least four Thai employees for a foreign company registered in Thailand or for a Thai limited company.
- Regarding the company’s up to date registered capital payments:
- To support a foreigner who is married to a Thai national, registered paid up capital of One Million Thai Baht
- For a Thai limited company, registered paid up capital of Two Million Baht
- For a foreign company, registered paid up capital of Three Million Baht
For the application for the work permit in Thailand to be completed, it is the applicant’s responsibility to provide the following documents:
- A 2” squared photograph
- Medical certificate to prove fitness for work and state of mental health
- Employment letter
- Certificate of academic qualification (degree)
- Address of residence in Thailand
The permit application takes 7-10 days between processing and issuing, and must be collected at the Labour Department by the applicant in person. Once the permit is issued, the holder must now keep in it their possession at their place of employment and have it on their person during the hours of work when outside the office. The permit is actually a booklet which details the holder’s position or occupation, job description and address of the Thai company to which they are employed. This ensures that whenever it is requested, the officials can dispel any doubt or suspicion as to whether you are abiding by the terms of your employment and Thai laws. The terms of the permit must be strictly adhered to in order to avoid imprisonment or fines. The permit is usually issued for a year however in some cases a shorter duration of three or six months may be given.
Other Useful Information
The applicant must apply for an extension of their work permit prior to its expiration to continue working legally in Thailand. Failure to do so could result in imprisonment or fines.
If the work permit has become damaged or has been lost, an application for a replacement permit must be made within fifteen (15) days of the date on which this came to your attention. Failure to do so will result in fines.
Only the work stipulated in the work permit booklet must be carried out. If your office location changes or your work responsibilities and/or job description changes, you must apply for a revision to your existing permit to reflect these changes. Failure to do so will result in imprisonment or fines.
Any changes to your personal information as stated in the work permit must be reported to the Employment Service office so that they can update their records accordingly.
If you resign from your job, the work permit must be surrendered within seven (7) days of the date of resignation. Failure to do so will attract the applicable fines.