This page gives you a general idea of the rules and things to keep in mind regarding Thailand work permit.
Alien (or foreigner): a natural person who is not of Thai nationality.
Work: engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits.
Who must have a Work Permit?
The law requires all foreigners obtain a work permit before starting work in Thailand.
The foreigners having the following status do not need a work permit to perform their duty in Thailand:
1. Members of the diplomatic corps;
2. Members of consular missions;
3. Representatives of member countries and officials of the United Nations Organizations and specialized institutions;
4. Personal servants coming from abroad to work exclusively for persons listed in item (1), (2) or (3) above;
5. Persons who perform duties on missions in Thailand under an agreement between the Thai Government and a foreign Government or international organization;
6. Persons who enter Thailand for the purpose of performing any duty or mission for the benefit of education, culture, arts, or sports in Thailand;
7. Persons who are specially permitted by the Thai Government to enter and perform any duty or mission in Thailand.
1. Urgent and Essential Work:
Exemption from Work Permit requirements is granted to foreigners who enter the Kingdom temporarily but in accordance with the immigration law to perform any work of an “urgent and essential nature” for a period not exceeding fifteen days. However, such foreigners may engage in work only after a written notification on a prescribed form, signed by the foreigner and endorsed by his employer, has been submitted to and accepted by the Director-General or his assignee. The foreigners entitled to this treatment may enter Thailand with any kind of visa, including a transit Visa. The term “urgent and essential work” is not explicitly defined, and consequently, the issuance of this sort of exemption is a matter of administrative discretion.
2. Investment Promotion:
A foreigner seeking permission to work in the Kingdom under the Investment Promotion Law must submit his application for a Work Permit within thirty days from his entry into Thailand; if the foreigner is present in the Kingdom, the thirty-day period begins on the date he is granted permission to work under such law. A foreigner in this category may engage in the permitted work while his application is being processed by the authorities.
How to apply for a Work Permit in Thailand?
Qualifications of a foreigner entitled to apply for a Work Permit
1. Having residence in the Kingdom or having permission to stay in the Kingdom temporarily under the immigration law (i.e. not as a tourist or a transit-traveler).
2. Not applying for work in any or the 39 reserved occupations prescribed in the Royal Decree B.E. 2522 (1979).
3. Having the knowledge and/or skills to perform the work as stated in the application for a Work Permit.
4. Not being insane or mentally sick.
5. Not being sick of leprosy, tuberculosis, drug addiction, alcoholism and elephantitus.
6. Not having been imprisoned due to violation of the immigration law or the alien employment law within one year prior to applying for a Work Permit.
Validity of a Work Permit
A Work Permit is issued for a one-year period and may be renewed every year thereafter.
If the duration of employment of a foreigner is less than one year, a Work Permit will be granted for not longer than the period requested.
An authorized official may grant a Work Permit to a foreigner for a period that is necessary for the completion of work, but not longer than one year.
Other interesting points
The law prohibits employers from allowing foreign employees to perform any function other than that described in the foreigner’s Work Permit. The employers must report changes in employment, transfers and termination of all foreigners in their organization within 15 days. Failure to do so may result in a fine.
Work Permit holders must obtain a prior permission to change their occupation, and/or place of work.
Change of employer location or the residential address of the permit holder must be properly endorsed in the Work Permit by the labor authorities.
The Law does not prevent a foreigner from working in more than one field or for more than one employer. He has to have his Work Permit covering all the jobs or employers.
The 39 occupations and professions prohibited to foreigners
10. Hair cutting, hair dressing and beautician work
11. Manual cloth weaving
12. Mat weaving or making of wares from reed, rattan, kenaf, straw or bamboo pulp
13. Manual rice-paper making
14. Lacquerware making
15. Thai musical instrument making
16. Nielloware making
17. Making of gold, silver and other metallic ornaments
18. Stone inlay wares making
19. Thai traditional doll making
20. Mattress and blanket making
21. Alms bowl making
22. Manual silk product making
23. Buddha image casting
24. Knife making
25. Paper and cloth umbrella making
26. Shoe making
27. Hat making
28. Brokerage or agency work, except work connected with international trade
29. Assessment, system planning, research planning, testing, and supervisory and advisory work in connection with construction and civil engineering, except work requiring specialized skills
30. Designing and preparing drawings of buildings and architectural structures including consultation, cost estimation and construction supervision of the designs.
32. Pottery or ceramics
33. Manual cigarette rolling
34. Tour guiding and tour promoting
35. Hawking of goods
36. Thai character type-setting
37. Manual silk reeling and weaving
38. Clerical or secretarial work
39. Legal service and litigation
Click here to read the latest law concerning foreigners working in Thailand, Working of Alien Act B.E 2551.