For foreigners a work permit is the key to working legally in Thailand.
Foreigners who intend to work in Thailand are subject to the Foreign Employment Law. Under the provisions of this Act a foreigner cannot perform any work or service unless a work permit has been issued by the Foreign Employment Division of the Labour Department and Social Welfare Ministry, UNLESS the individual or the work performed falls within an exception to the Act (e.g. volunteer work, movie extras).
Thai Employment and Work Permit application
To apply for a work permit the applicant must be in the possession of a valid "Non-Immigrant" visa at the time they process the work permit application, however you can start the work permit application for the purpose of obtaining a Non-Immigrant B visa (i.e. some embassies require a valid work permit or a work permit application form WP 2 as one of the conditions for issuing a Non-Immigrant B visa).
There are a number of grounds upon which a work permit can be granted (this is on a discretionary basis and will take into account usual considerations such as suitability and qualifications of the foreigner for the position):
- The company must have a fully paid-up registered capital of 2 million Baht to hire one foreigner, plus one person for every additional 2 million Baht (to a maximum of 10 people).
- If the registered capital of the company is less than 2 million the company can hire one foreigner if its total corporate income tax payment had been at least 5 million Baht for the past three years. The company can hire one foreigner for every 5 million Baht paid in tax.
- The employer has engaged in export which has brought into Thailand revenue of 3 million Baht in the previous fiscal year. The employer can hire one foreigner for every additional 3 million Baht up to a maximum of 3 people.
- The employer has at least 50 Thai employees per foreign employee up to a maximum of 5 foreign employees.
- A foreign employee must have paid personal income tax of at least 18,000 Baht in the previous personal tax year or if the foreign employee has not worked in Thailand previously, documents for potential employers confirming that, the foreign employee will obtain income in Thailand of at least 50,000 Baht per month for an employee who is single and 60,000 per month for a married person, must be presented.
The Labour Department may also issue or renew work permits regardless of the above criteria when the foreign individual falls into one of the following categories:
-employed as an international trade representative inspecting product quality, purchases or conducting market surveys
-employed as an investment or management technology adviser or internal auditor
-a tour representative bringing foreign tourists into Thailand
-employed in an international financial institute endorsed by the Bank of Thailand
-employed a non-profit organization on a temporary basis
-employed as a contractor on projects for state agencies or public enterprises
-employed in a business that mainly required the use of local raw materials
-employed in the Thai export sector
-employed in a business introducing and transferring technologies to Thailand
-employed in a sector where qualified Thai employees cannot be found
-married the cohabiting with a Thai national and has an honest employment.
In order to apply for one standard foreign employee's work permit in a limited company the employer/ foreigner is required to submit the documents as listed below:
- Application form signed by the employee;
- Letter of engagement/ employment from your company signed by the authorized Director of the company;
- Company Affidavit/ Certificate of Incorporation (copy signed by authorized Director);
- Audit report, balance sheet for 3 preceding years. If you do not have this, we have to provide an explanation letter stating that the company is less than 12 months old. The authorized Director is required to sign this letter;
- Employee’s personal income tax declaration form or withholding tax form. A failure to show that tax has been paid correctly will seriously prejudice the employee’s work permit application;
- A written report stating the employee’s activities and declaration that the activities comply with the conditions stipulated in the work permit booklet. The authorized Director is required to sign this report;
- Map of the location of the company signed by the authorized Director;
- Copy of the foreign employee’s passport (every page) plus the page showing a valid Non-immigrant visa stamp. The employee is required to sign each page in blue ink.
- Health certificate from a certified Thai doctor and syphilis test.
- 3 color photographs of the employee (5cm x 6cm)
- Certified copies of the employee’s educational certificates (Degree or Diploma) and qualifications for the job.
Documents numbered 1 – 7 must be signed by the authorized Director of the company and the company’s seal must be affixed. Document number 8 must be signed by the employee (every page) to certify that it is a true copy. Document number 9 must be an original health certificate and test result as issued by qualified and certified Thai doctor within Thailand. Most general hospitals issue these a document.
Related law and others:
- Foreign (alien) employment Act
- Immigration Act
- Labor Protection Act
- Employment Act
- Department of Employment
Laws and regulations change on a regularly basis and the above information should not be as a substitute for specific legal advice individual cases/ requirement for work permit applications in individual cases.