Below is a list of 5 things you need to know in order to acquire a work permit in Thailand.
Basic requirements for application
Any non-citizen who wishes to work in Thailand must be in possession of both a non-immigration B (Business) visa and a work permit. These documents need to be applied for separately and in order, with the non-immigration visa required before one can apply for a work permit.
Both of these documents will require applicants to be in possession of a 2 inch photo, medical certificate, an original passport valid for a minimum of six months after the date of application, a letter of employment from the prospective company they wish to work for, a certificate of degree and an address to prove where they will be staying in Thailand.
The first document expatriates need to apply for actually isn’t the work permit itself. A work permit only grants an expatriate permission to work in the country, and only at the place of employment listed on the permit and for the pre-agreed contracted time. In order for a potential expatriate to even get into the country, they need to acquire one of two non-immigrant B (Business) visas.
The first option available to applicants is a single-entry visa.
A single-entry visa grants non-citizens permission to enter Thailand once within the three month period following their date of application. These visas are typically processed within two business days, but applicants should note that the three month validity period starts from the date of application and not the date of approval.
This visa grants non-citizens permission to enter the country once. Upon entry, non-citizen visa holders are allowed to stay in the country for up to six months, but should they wish to leave the country in that time, they will need to reapply for a re-entry visa, which can be done at the Immigration Office.
If non-citizens need to stay in the country for longer than the allotted time on the visa, then they may apply for an extension of stay from the Immigration Office.
It should be noted that single-entry visas should only be considered if applicants are sure that they will not be required to leave the country of Thailand at any point during their initial stay, and such considerations should be taken into account. An employer might require an expatriate to attend a meeting in another country for two days before returning to Thailand, or non-citizens may need to return to their home countries to deal with an emergency before returning.
If one cannot guarantee that they will not need to leave the country during their initial stay, then it is advisable that they look into the second non-immigrant visa option available to them: a multi-entry visa.
A multi-entry visa guarantees that expatriates will be able to leave the country and return multiple times during their stay in Thailand. The visa validity period also lasts a year, as opposed to the six months of the single-entry visa.
Multi-entry visa holders will not need to reapply every time they leave the country. However, they are required to leave and return to the country at least once during a 90 day period, either by sea, air or land travel.
Naturally, this visa is much more accommodating to expatriates whose working conditions will not be fixed to one location in Thailand, or who want to make provisions for quickly leaving and returning to the country as and when they need to.
Only once applicants have applied for and received either a single or multiple-entry visa can they can proceed to applying for a work permit.
Acquiring a work permit
Applying for a work permit is a similar process to applying for a non-immigrant B (Business) visas in that applicants will need to do this through the Thai Immigration Office. However, work permits have different requirements and need the involvement of the company one will work for in order to be processed.
In order to apply for a work permit, applicants must have proof of an employment opportunity with a registered Thai company that is eligible for expatriate sponsorship subject to receiving a work permit.
Companies in Thailand that wish to employ expatriates have their own guidelines to abide by before they are eligible, but for potential expatriates, they will need to show that there is a contract available that meets the minimum salary requirement to pay the appropriate income tax.
Employers eligible for expatriate employment
Just as expatriates have to meet certain requirements in order to work in the country, the companies that hire them have their own set of requirements.
Any company that wishes to sponsor an expatriate or make itself eligible for hiring them needs to ensure that it has paid income tax to the Thai Revenue Department in the last three years. The minimum income tax paid in that period needs to be more than 5 000 000 baht, after which a company is allowed to employ one expatriate for every 5 000 000 baht in income tax it has paid.
That’s not the only requirement, however. Companies will need to register capital in access of 2 000 000 baht per foreigner in order to be eligible for sponsorship roles.
There is also an employment quota companies need to keep within in order to ensure employment opportunities for Thai citizens. A registered company eligible for sponsorship must employ 4 Thai employees registered to the company for every 1 foreigner.
Companies will also need to ensure that the salary they offer to expatriates is sufficient enough for expatriates to pay a minimum income tax of 18 000 baht. This will need to be in the prospective contract that applicants will need to provide for the Immigration Office when applying for a work permit.
Updating visa status
Lastly, it is important for non-citizens to note the avenues available to them for updating their visa statuses. If an expatriate enters the country under a single-entry visa and is required to leave and return to the country as part of their job, then it is recommended that they either apply for a re-entry visa before leaving Thailand or apply for a multiple-entry visa.
Should expatriates have their contract terminated or find that they can no longer complete the terms of their employment for any reason, they will need to contact the Immigration Office to update them on developments and see if their situation would allow for them to remain in the country while re-applying for work.
Non-immigration B (Business visas) are issued specifically for work reasons, and should an expatriate’s working conditions change, they may need to apply for a new visa either while in Thailand, at their native embassy in Bangkok or from their home country.
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Aster Lion is an Employer of Record (EOR / PEO) & Payroll provider headquartered in Thailand that can assist with Thailand visa & work permit application, employee contractor management and payroll solutions. You can reach out to us for any inquiries on how we can assist you with your staffing & employment requirements in Thailand.