Thai Work Permits


The Alien Occupation Act prohibits foreigners from engaging in work in Thailand’s whether paid or unpaid, unless a Thai work permit is first granted. The terms of the Thai law are very strict and except for foreigners working in diplomatic or related field, there are, at least in terms of the Act, few exceptions.

Waiting For Issuance: During the period a foreigner is waiting for his Thai work permit he is not permitted to work. The Revenue Department, however, will normally assess taxes from the foreigner for the non-working period since it is permissible to be paid a salary while waiting for the work permit to be issued.

Duration of Validity:
The difficulty with Thai work permits are that they are valid only for the length of the holders’ non-immigrant or resident visa but the Labor Department may in any event permit work for a three month period while a visa application is under consideration. Since Thai non-immigrant visas issued by Thai Embassies and Consulates are normally valid for only a 90 day stay, the work permit is normally initially issued for a three month period.

Thai Visa Extensions:
Once a Thai work permit is issued and the foreigner wishes to work beyond the 90 day period, he will normally apply to the Thai Immigration authorities to extend his visa. Since it may take several weeks of consideration before a long term visa extension is granted the Thai Labor Department will likewise extend the validity of the work permit.

Thai Visa Cancellation:
It is important to watch the date on which the work permit will expire as it must be renewed prior to its expiration, otherwise, it will be cancelled.  If the foreigner desires to continue to work, a new application will have to be made. If a foreigner has a Thai work permit and has not applied to the Immigration authorities for an immigration extension or for some reason he will be out of the country when the work permit will expire, he may submit a work permit extension application to the Thai Labor Department prior to leaving, pending is new Thai non-immigrant visa and then present the same to the Labor Department on his return.

Criteria For Issuance:
In deciding whether to issue a Thai work permit, the Thai Labor Department will give into consideration, among other factors, the capital of the company and the salary to be paid to the applicant. The Thai Labor Department normally requires that a company employing an alien have a capital of at least 2,000,000 Baht. The higher the capital the more favorable the consideration. Evidence of marriage to a Thai spouse is helpful, especially if such evidence is more than two years old or there is a child born of the marriage. The Thai Labor Department will not grant a work permit where it determines that a Thai national can do the job.

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