Any foreign national wishing to work legally in Thailand will need to apply for and be granted a Thai Work Permit. Regardless of what Visa you are on, even if you are on a Thai Marriage Visa, Permanent Residence Visa, or Business Visa, you will need to first get a Thai Work Permit before you can work legally.
A Thai Work Permit is an important legal document which states the details of a foreign national’s permission to work in Thailand; this includes details of his/her occupation, role, or job description, and the Thai company they are permitted to represent and work for, and where.
In order to apply for a Work Permit a foreign national must already be on a Thai Visa which permits applications for a Thai Work Permit, such as a Thai Marriage Visa, Permanent Residence Visa, Business Visa, or another type of Non-Immigrant O Visas. A foreign national cannot apply for a Thai Work Permit while on a Tourist Visa.
A foreigner is only eligible to apply for a work permit as long as he/she has a formal job offer and an employer who can provide all the required documents for work permit. The job offer must also be for a role or occupation which is not prohibited to foreigners.
The applicant will need to supply the following documents:
- A copy of every relevant pages in your passport with each one signed by you.
- 3 passport sized photos (4 x 6 cm).
- A copy of your Non-Immigrant Visa, and the original.
- Your departure card TM.6.
- A copy of any relevant education degrees/qualifications, signed by you.
- A copy of any relevant transcripts, certificates, or licenses, signed by you.
- A copy of your CV/Resume. This should describe in detail your past positions, duties, and the length and location of all previous employment.
- A medical certificate not older than six month from a recognised hospital in Thailand. It must state the applicant’s blood type and confirm that the applicant is of good mental and physical health (not suffering from leprosy, acute tuberculosis, elephantiasis, narcotic addiction or alcoholism).
- A proxy to the person who is filing the application (it other than the applicant himself), including a 10 THB duty stamp.
- If you are married to a Thai national you must supply a copy and original of your Marriage Certificate. All copies must be signed by you.
- If you are married to a Thai national you must also supply a copy of your partner’s Thai ID card, birth certificates of any children you have together children, and your household registration.
Some documents may need to be certified by your country’s embassy, in order to be declared correct or original documents, (this can be done at your national embassy in Bangkok but may required you to pay an authentication fee). You may also be required to translate your documents into the Thai language.
The employed will need to supply the following documents:
- A Commercial Registration Department Certificate showing that the company has been duly registered as a juristic person, clearly stating the name of the Managing Director and any Directors. It must also include the nature and purpose of the company and its registered capital.
- A list of company shareholders, certified by the Commercial Registration Department.
- If the company owns/runs a factory it must also supply a Factory License, issued by the Factory Department, Ministry of Industry.
- A copy of the company’s VAT Certificate – Phor Phor 20.
- A copy of the company’s VAT filing – Phor Phor 30.
- A copy of the company’s Withholding Tax form – Phor Ngor Dor 1.
- A copy of the company’s Social Security Payment filing.
All company documents must have the company seal stamped on every page and hold all the required signatures of the Managing Director and/or Directors next to the seal, in order for them to be accepted.
All issued company documents of registration, shareholder, licenses and certificates must have been issued by the correct government agency within 90 days of making your Thai Work Permit application.
In addition to the above documents required, in order to apply for a Work Permit for a foreign national, an employer must already have at least 4 full time staff for every foreign national employed by the company, and have at least 2 Million Baht in registered capital for every foreign national employed.
How to apply
Thai Work Permits must be applied for within Thailand once you are already on an appropriate Thai visa, such as a Non-Immigrant O Visa.
If the company or job is based in Bangkok, the application should be made at the Ministry of Labour. If the company or job is not based in Bangkok, the application should be made at the relevant province’s Department of Employment or at the province’s city hall.
The process of applying for a Thai Work Permit usually takes 7 business days to complete.
There are certain roles and occupations which do not require foreigners to have a Thai Work Permit in order to work within Thailand, these include:
- Members of the diplomatic corps or consular missions, including their assistants and helpers.
- Those performing duties on missions in the Kingdom under an agreement between the government of Thailand and a foreign government or international organisations.
- Those entering Thailand performing duties or tasks deemed to be for the benefit of education, culture, arts, or sports.
- Those who have received special permission from the Thai government.
- Those brought in to work under a BOI-promoted project (Investment Promotion Law).
Such persons can work before they have received a Thai Work Permit, but an official work permit must be applied for within 30 days of starting work.
There are several occupations which foreign nationals are not permitted to do within Thailand. These include:
- Labouring or agricultural work.
- Wood carving, garment making, shoe and hat making, and other craft work.
- Shop assistant.
- Cutting or polishing jewellery.
- Street Vending.
- Legal or litigation services.
- Architectural work.
- Haircutting or beauty and cosmetic role.
Thai Work Permit restrictions
Your work permit only permits you to work for the company stated on the permit within the roles stated on the permit and at the location stated on the permit. If any of these details change then you must apply for a new work permit which changes or adds the correct details of your employment.
Work permits are company, role, and location specific, and if you work in any way that doesn’t correspond with the details on your work permit it you will be deemed as to be working illegally.
Changes in employment
If your change your job role or work place it is the responsibility of the employer to report such changes within 15 days.
If the employee is laid off or tenders his resignation the relevant work permit must be returned to the Labour Department within 10 days. If this is not done the foreigner risks a fine of 1,000 Baht.
Violations and penalties
If a foreigner is caught working in Thailand without a work permit they face the possibility of imprisonment of up to three months and/or a fine of up to 5,000 Baht.
If a foreigner is found working in an occupation which is prohibited to foreigners they face the possibility of imprisonment of up to 5 years and/or fine of up to 100,000 Baht.
Employers who illegally employ foreign nationals also face the possibility of imprisonment of up to 3 years and/or a fine of up to 60,000 Baht.
Tax Identification Cards
Once you have received a Thai Work Permit, a foreign national is then required to obtain a Tax Identification Card. This can be done through your employer.
A tax ID card will display the employer’s Tax Identification Number, which is needed for use on employment documents which need a tax identification number (TIN).
When on a Thai Work Permit you must continue to report your current address to a Thai immigration office every 90 days. This can be done three ways:
- In person at a Thai immigration office.
- By mail.
- Through an agent who has the Power of Attorney to report you status.
If you are not in Thailand on the date your 90-day reporting is due, you do not need to report your status. Your 90-day reporting will begin again from day 1 once you re-enter Thailand.
If you plan on leaving and re-entering Thailand whilst on a Thai Work Permit, you will first need to get a re-entry permit in order to not lose your visa when you leave.
A re-entry permit can be secured from a Thai Immigration Office or International Airport. The fees are 1,000 Baht for a single re-entry, and 3,800 Baht for a multiple re-entry permit.
When re-entering Thailand, make sure to note the number of your re-entry permit on your immigration arrival form in order for your visa to be re-activated.