If you have recently been offered a job in Thailand or are considering starting a career in a foreign country, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations in place for foreigners. Thailand, in particular, has a strict set of rules in place that foreigners must follow if they are to obtain a visa and permit, to be able to legally work.
MSC Notaries offer notary, translation and apostille services to ensure all documents used throughout the process are legalised for use. We’ve outlined the process and the documents here concerning Thailand’s work permit requirements so you can ensure you have everything prepared and are educated before starting the application process.
How to apply for a Thailand work permit
Foreigners are not legally allowed to work in Thailand without two key documents: a non-immigrant visa and a granted work permit. In addition, you can only start your application for a work permit once you have received your visa, so it’s important to be prepared in advance if you are planning to start a new role in Thailand.
The application process requires both you and your employer in Thailand to submit documents and information, so without a job secured in advance, you won’t be able to make an application. It’s also important to note that certain occupations are prohibited to foreigners, whereby foreigners cannot make permit applications and there are harsh penalties in place for those that do perform these roles illegally in Thailand.
Prohibited roles are categorised and include:
- Category A includes Agriculture (rice farming, salt farming), Service Business (accounting, architecture, hairdressing, advertising, brokerage, construction), Commercial Business (land trade, internal trade)
- Category B – Agricultural Business (timber, fishing, cultivation), Industrial (flour, sugar, drinks, garments, shoes, furniture, jewellery). Service (hotel, photography, laundry), Utility (water, electricity, land, transport)
1. Obtaining a non-immigrant visa
For foreigners looking to work in Thailand, you will need to obtain a Category B, non-immigrant visa. The process of obtaining a visa must take place before you enter the country, or you will be refused entry at the border.
To apply for an initial non-immigrant visa you will need to follow the below process:
- Be offered a job or be due to start work in a role at a Thailand-located company.
- The company requests a non-immigrant visa on behalf of you as a new employee, including the agreement that you are morally sound and willing to respect the culture and laws of Thailand while residing and working there.
- The company you will be working for will also need to provide evidence of company registration and financial statements.
The process of applying for these types of visas and having them granted can take up to around 30 days so you must apply in advance via the Thai embassy in your country. You can also apply for non-immigrant visas for family members under the principal applicant who has been offered the role in Thailand. To do this, you will need to provide financial evidence and documents to prove the applicant can provide for all the other family members applying.
There are varying fees for applying for a non-immigrant visa:
- A single-entry visa is around 2000 Thai baht
- Multiple entries are around 5000 Thai baht
2. Apply for a work permit
Once your visa application has gone through and your visa has been granted, you can then apply for a Thailand work permit.
What do you need to apply for a Thailand work permit?
- For tourists, you will need to have a non-immigrant visa (either a 90-day single entry or one-year multiple entries). For residents, you will need to have a resident visa.
- Photos. You will need to provide three photos, 5 x 6 cm size that shows your full face and you must be wearing business attire. The photos must also have been taken within 6 months of applying for a permit. You aren’t able to simply use your passport photos for this purpose.
- Medical certificate that proves your health and the ability to perform the role.
- Signed copies of each page of your passport.
- Letter of employment. This should show your past work history, responsibilities, length of employment and place of employment.
- Degree certificate. This should be a copy of the original which is notarised, apostilled by the UK Foreign Office and legalised at the Thai consulate.
- Any relevant certificates for qualifications or licenses, with signatures. These may also need to be notarised, apostilled and legalised (eg. TEFL/ TESOL certificates).
- Marriage certificate where applicable. This must be the original and signed copy of your marriage certificate, including your spouse’s ID card, birth certificates of any children and household registration.
Most of the documents you provide as part of your application must be signed and legalised before they can be used. MSC Notaries offer professional notary services for personal documents, along with translation (where required) and apostille services to ensure all documents used in the process are legalised.
What does your employer need to provide?
- Company Registration Department certificate.
- Shareholders list.
- VAT application certificate.
- VAT filing.
- Withholding tax of the company.
- Financial statement. Thai businesses applying for a work permit for an employee must have a minimum of two million baht in registered capital. This is lowered to one million baht if the employee has a spouse who is a Thai citizen. Foreign businesses applying for a work permit for their operating location in Thailand must bring three million baht per employee into the country.
- Name of Director(s) and photocopy of Director’s passport and work permit with notarised certificate.
- Social security payment filing
- Employment offer and certificate. This must be stating position, job requirements, salary, and contract duration.
All documents provided by your employer must also have their company seal along with signatures, on all pages. For a work permit application to be successful, there are various regulations that the country has in place for companies that can apply.
Regulations for employers include:
- There must be four native Thai staff employed by the company, for every one foreign employee.
- Businesses can only apply for a maximum of ten work permits for foreign employees.
- Businesses authorised by the Thailand Board of Investment are exempt from all regulations on obtaining work permits.
- Companies may also need to provide evidence for why employing a foreigner is required for that role over a resident in Thailand
What are the fees for Thailand work permits?
- Up to 3 months – 750 Thai Baht
- 3 to 6 months – 1500 Thai Bath
- 6 to 12 months – 3000 Thai Baht
3. Once your work permit is approved
If your work permit is approved, these are not posted out to you. Instead, you must visit the labour department to sign for it in person along with your passport to prove your identity and sign your permit booklet. A stamp is also added to your booklet upon collection to show approval.
Once your permit booklet is in your possession, you will need to carry your work permit at all times when working and at your workplace and can only do the work specific to your job contract and description.
Further regulations include:
- If you lose a work permit, you must report this to the labour department and obtain a replacement immediately.
- If you change address you must also apply for a revision immediately. The same applies if the location of your workplace changes or if you change the company as permits are specific to a certain company and role.
- If you finish working for a company or resign from a job, you must return the permit to the labour department within seven days.
If you fail to comply with the regulations and are seen without a permit the punishments for violations can be extremely strict including fines, detention and even imprisonment.
4. Extending a work permit
Thailand visas are issued for a maximum period of 12 months. If you plan to work in Thailand for longer than 12 months, you will need to request an Extension of Stay at the Immigration Bureau with plenty of notice before your current visa expires.
You can extend your stay in Thailand after every 12 months and after three years you can then decide to apply for a Permanent Residence permit should you wish to reside and work in Thailand long term.
5. Mandatory check-ins
It’s important to note that all non-residents working and residing in Thailand for longer than three months are legally obliged to report their presence in the country every 90 days (every three months). To do this, you can visit your nearest Immigration Office, report your presence via post to your office, or carry out the process online. Check-ins must be carried out within 15 days before or seven days after the 90 days.
Have your documents for a work permit legalised today
MSC Notaries have decades of experience in helping those looking to work in a foreign country such as Thailand or Vietnam, notarise, translate and legalise their documents for applications. We can help ensure the process is as streamlined and efficient as possible, while also offering customers affordable prices. You can get in touch with our team for more information or submit an enquiry via our website.