All foreigners who intend to work in Thailand have to apply for a work permit before they start working. A work permit is required for every foreigner who engages in work by “exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits.”
The issuance of Thailand work permits falls within the competences of the Ministry of Labour. Section 8 of the Foreign Business Act states that the future employer may apply for this work permit on behalf of the foreigner, but the work permit itself can only be issued once the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and presented himself to receive the permit.
Moreover, a Thai work permit will not be issued to the foreigner who does not have a non-immigrant visa. In Thailand, a work permit is issued to an individual with the support of a company for a specific position and job role within that company. A work permit does not allow a foreigner to work outside of that company designation. In practice, this means that if you found a job before you actually move to Thailand, the Thai company should arrange for your application for a non-immigrant B visa.
You can enter Thailand with this non-immigrant B visa and within that period you should apply/collect your work permit for which, again, multiple company documents should be provided. Having received your work permit (valid for the same amount of time as your visa), you can apply for an extension of your visa (from 90 days to one year).
From that point on, if you are a resident in Thailand, both your visa and work permit can be extended every year (and before the year elapses).
A proper work permit application should contain the following documents provided by the applicant (in English or Thai):
The application has to be completed with certain corporate documents:
A duly completed application form with amongst others the job description, a map showing the location of the workplace and an explanation of why the company hires a foreign employee
The Thai company hiring a foreigner needs to have the following characteristics:
The Foreign Business Act foresees some exemptions. Some occupations do not require a work permit:
Other people may be granted special treatment because of the situation they are:
The permit itself (also in case of extension):
|Replacement of a permit||500 THB/book|
|Change or add job description||1,000 THB/time|
|Change or add employer||3,000 THB/time|
|Change or add a location or place of work||1,000 THB/time|
|Change or add other conditions||150 THB/time|
|Suspension of work permit||100 THB/time|
If all documents as stated above are in order, it takes the Labor Department only seven days to issue the work permit in Bangkok but almost two months in Phuket. Only after issuance of a work permit, an employee of a non-BOI company can start working. As mentioned above, an employee of a BOI company can start working as from the moment he applied for the work permit.
If the job content and/or place of work would change, the employer must report these changes within 15 days. If the employment contract would be ended, the foreigner is obliged to return his work permit or he risks a fine of up to 1,000 THB.
If a foreigner is working in Thailand without a work permit, he/she risks imprisonment up to three months and/or a fine of up to 5,000 THB. Foreigners who exercise an activity which is prohibited to them, they can be imprisoned for five years and/or fined (between 2,000 to 100,000 THB). The employer himself may be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years and/or fined up to 60,000 THB.
The related forms and documents can be downloaded here.