All foreign nationals who work in Thailand are required to possess a work permit at all time. A Thai Work permit is a blue booklet which authorizes a foreign national to work in Thailand. Specified therein are information in connection with his/her employment such as the company, position, location of office and the corresponding validity period. The Thailand Department of Labor is the governmental agency responsible for issuing this type of permit.
If the foreign national is presently outside Thailand, the process application for Thai work permit may be divided into two phases.
First Phase: Non-Immigrant Thailand Visa Category “B”
The foreign national, as a prerequisite to applying for a Thai work permit, is required to have a Non-Immigrant Visa category “B” or Thailand business visa. It may either be for a single entry with three months validity or multiple entries with one year validity which is issued by the Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Thai Consulate.
The documents essential for the Thailand visa application are as follows:
- Passport or travel document with at least twelve months validity
- Thai Visa Application form
- Recent passport-sized photograph
- Proof of adequate finance of 20,000.00 THB per person and 40,000.00 THB per family
- Letter of approval from the Ministry of Labour (it is called a WP2)
- Thai Company Registration paperwork of hiring company in Thailand (such as the Thai business registration, certificate and all the financial documents)
- Copy of previous Thai work permit and alien income tax (if applicable)
Second Phase: Thai Work Permit
Upon approval of the application for the non-immigrant Thailand visa “B”, the next step is to request before the Office of Foreign Workers Administration which is under the Thailand Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour for a Thai work permit.
But first, it must be proven that he/she met the qualifications provided by the Thai law. He/ she must be legally residing or permitted to temporarily stay in Thailand and is both physically and mentally healthy. Persons suffering from tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy, elephantiasis, drug addiction and alcoholism are strictly prohibited from having a work permit in Thailand.
This permit may only be issued if the applicant will be engaged in an occupation which matches his/her education and skill. Furthermore, there are 39 reserved occupations for Thais. These occupations are provided in Royal decree B.E. 2522 and violation thereof is punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or fine of 2,000 to 10,000 THB.
The application for Thai work permit has to be accompanied by the following requirements:
- Recent photograph taken within the last six months (best taken with suit and tie)
- Certificate duly signed the Thai employer stating the need to employ a foreigner
- Applicant’s education certificate and job experience record
- Medical certificate issued within the last six month reflecting that he is free from any of the prohibited diseases
- Passport and Certificate of Permanent Residence and Certificate of Alien
- Map of location of company or enterprise
In most cases if the application is approved, it shall be issued with a maximum of one year validity. The validity period may be shorter if the requested period is no longer than a year. The Thai government has introduced a new two year work permit. It is available to certain Thai companies who meet the financial requirements for company revenue.