Anyone who plans to work in Thailand needs a visa and a work permit. Whether it’s a digital nomad working on their laptop in a co-working space or a corporate businessman preparing for a meeting, all foreign employees need to follow strict guidelines.
Companies must have a minimum registered capital of 2 million baht and have a Thai employee for every one foreign worker.
A work permit in Thailand is an endorsement granted by the government to foreign employees to work legally inside the country. It is a thin booklet that should be carried by the employee all the time. A worker must follow the duties and responsibilities stated on the permit. He should not engage in any other work except those mentioned in the document.
A worker must also pay income tax, which is deducted by his employer and remitted to the government. In addition, he is required to obtain a tax identification card through his employer to use for documents that require his tax identification number.
To get a work permit, he must submit the following documents to the Ministry of Labor: a passport with signed copies of all pages and a non-immigrant visa, a departure card, a certificate of graduation or university transcripts, a medical report, three passport-sized photos, and company documents such as registration, shareholder, licenses, and certificates.
If you have been granted a Thai work permit, you must carry it at all times when going to and from your workplace. If you fail to do so, you will be fined. In addition, you must be able to show it when asked by any government official. This is especially important in situations involving the Ministry of Labor, such as if you change jobs.
It is also important that you provide your employees with statutory benefits, as stipulated in the Thailand Labour Code. Failure to do so will open you up to the potential risk of misclassification, which can result in substantial fines and the loss of your reputation among Thailand’s tightly-knit business community.
Once your Thailand work permit is approved, you will receive an official blue covered document that shows that you are allowed to work in a specific described job at a certain company in the country. If you want to continue working in the same country after your contract is terminated, you must get a new non-immigrant visa from a Royal Thai Embassy abroad before the expiry date of your work permit.
If you’re a foreign national looking to work in Thailand, you will need a Work Permit. There are a few exceptions, such as diplomats and volunteers for international organizations (like the flu pandemic response team). You will need official documents from your home country and a visa issued by the Thai Ministry of Labor.
The work permit is not transferable, so if you change jobs in Thailand, you will need to apply for another one with the new employer. Additionally, the work permit is only valid for the job and company listed on it.
You will also need to provide a copy of your passport and signed copies of all pages, a non-immigrant visa, proof of health insurance, three recent photos, a college or university degree with transcripts and certificates, and any other applicable qualifications. You may also need to have your credentials authenticated by the Thai embassy in your home country. Lastly, the company for which you are applying must submit proof of having a minimum capital of two million THB.
A medical examination is required before obtaining a work permit. The exam will verify that the foreign employee does not suffer from any contagious diseases. Typically, the exam takes up to three hours at any Thailand hospital or clinic.
Upon being issued, the work permit is not transferable and must be presented when changing jobs or locations. The employer must notify the Ministry of Labour and return the work permit within seven days when an employee resigns or is terminated.
The time frame to get the work permit varies depending on the type of visa and the completeness of the documentation. It is important that the non-immigrant visa and departure card does not expire during this process. In general, it takes about 7 to 30 business days for the Department of Employment to process a work permit in Bangkok. Work permits for BOI-promoted companies enjoy a streamlined process.