If you’re considering working in Thailand as a foreigner, getting a work permit is a must. A work permit is a legal document that allows an individual to work in the country. In this guide, we will go through everything you need to know about obtaining a work permit in Thailand.
Why do you need a work permit?
Under the Alien Employment Act, it is illegal for foreigners to work in Thailand without a work permit. If you are caught working illegally, you could face serious consequences, including being fined, deported, and banned from entering the country. It’s noteworthy that even unpaid work, such as volunteering, is by the strictest definition of the law illegal.
Who can apply for a work permit?
Foreigners who are employed by a Thai company or plan to start their own business in Thailand are eligible to apply for a work permit. It’s important to note that work permits are job-specific, which means that you cannot work for a different company or in a different position without obtaining a new work permit.
How to apply for a work permit in Thailand
To apply for a work permit in Thailand, you will need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport with a non-immigrant visa
- A work permit application form
- A medical certificate
- A criminal record certificate
- A certificate of education or qualification
- A company registration certificate
- A list of shareholders (if applicable)
How to obtain the required documents
Obtaining the Required Documents
To obtain a non-immigrant visa, visit your local Thai embassy or consulate in your home country with your passport, visa application form, and any other necessary documents. The process may vary depending on your country of origin, but usually involves completing an application form, paying a fee, and submitting your documents for review.
To obtain a medical certificate, you must undergo a medical examination at a Thai hospital or clinic. This is a very quick and cheap process, and rarely involves an actual medical checkup—it’s more a formality.
To obtain a criminal record certificate, you must obtain a police clearance certificate from your home country or the country you have lived in for the past five years. This certificate must be translated into Thai and certified by the Thai embassy.
To obtain a certificate of education or qualification, you must provide proof of your education or qualifications from an accredited institution. This may involve obtaining a transcript or diploma and having it translated into Thai.
To obtain a company registration certificate, your employer will need to register their business with the Department of Business Development in Thailand.
If you are a shareholder in the company, you may need to provide a list of shareholders and their percentage of ownership.
What to do if certain documents are not available
If any of the required documents are not available, it is best to consult with experienced advisors for alternative options. You might also try to inquire with the relevant authorities directly, although if you don’t know someone at the relevant ministry or department, that will often be a time- and labour intensive process with uncertain outcome.
For example, if you cannot get a criminal record certificate from your home country, you may be able to obtain one from the Thai police.
If you are unable to obtain a certificate of education or qualification, you may need to provide other supporting documents or references.
Submitting your work permit application
Once you have obtained all the required documents, you or your employer can submit your work permit application to the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour. The processing time for a work permit can vary, but it typically takes around 7 business days to two months, depending on where you submit your application, the current volume of applications in the qeue, and various other factors that can change at moments notice.
Tips for a Smooth Application Process
Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth work permit application process:
- Start the application process well in advance to allow for any potential delays or issues that may arise.
- Double-check that you have all the required documents and that they are properly translated and certified.
- Make sure that you have a valid non-immigrant visa that is appropriate for the work you will be doing in Thailand.
- Have your employer prepare a clear and concise job description that accurately reflects your role and responsibilities.
- Provide ample evidence that your employer is a legitimate and registered business in Thailand.
- Be prepared to provide additional documents or information if requested by the Department of Employment.
- If you are unsure about the application process, you may want to consider working with a visa and work permit agency.
- Be patient and polite, as the application process can be time-consuming and frustrating, but being respectful and friendly can go a long way in ensuring that your application is processed smoothly and efficiently.
How much does it cost to obtain a work permit?
The cost of obtaining a work permit in Thailand can vary. However, as of 2023, the fee for a work permit application is ฿3,000 (approximately $90 USD).
There are many additional fees and taxes that apply. Typically you won’t deal with the department yourself, but either you or your employer will use the services of an agent to act as an intermediary between you and the government.
Depending on your specific case, expect the total costs for obtaining a work permit to be in the range of ฿5,000 to ฿50,000.
It’s important to note that these fees are subject to change at any time, so it’s best to check with the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information.
Renewing your work permit
Work permits need to be renewed yearly by submitting the necessary documents again to the Ministry of Labour. It’s important to note that you must renew your work permit before it expires, otherwise you will have to start the application process all over again.
Obtaining a work permit in Thailand is a necessary, yet complicated process that requires effort and patience. With the help of this guide, you should have a better understanding of what is required to obtain a work permit in Thailand. Remember, seeking advice from a reputable law firm or immigration agency can save you time and prevent any unnecessary mistakes. Good luck on your journey to obtaining a work permit in Thailand!