A Thai work permit is a blue book which is issued to foreigners in Thailand who are either employed here or are running their own business.
Anyone who works in Thailand needs to have a work permit, if you work here without a work permit then you are breaking the law and if you are caught then you may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or in some cases you may even be deported.
If you have invested time and money building a life in Thailand then you don’t want to take the chance of being caught working without a work permit, no matter what anyone else tells you it is against the law!
Employers who employ foreigners illegally will face fines of between B400,000 and B800,000 per employee and foreigners caught working illegally will face fines of between B2,000 – 100,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of 5 years.
How to get a work permit in Thailand
If you are employed:
In order to get a work permit in Thailand, you need to have a Non B visa in some situations a work permit can be obtained on a family visa such as a Non O visa based on marriage or supporting a Thai family. However, the normal procedure is that work permit holders usually have a Non B visa.
In order to get a work permit in Thailand, you must be employed by a Thai company who has at least 2 million THB of registered capital, 4 Thai employees per foreign employee and be registered for Social Security. These are the basic requirements, however there may be further requirements depending on your specific circumstances.
If you are employed by a BOI company then the rules are slightly different and are covered on our dedicated BOI page.
A work permit only covers you to do the specific job outlined in your work permit and the location(s) specified. If you undertake any other kind of work and you are caught, the same punishment will apply as someone who is caught working without a work permit.
If you are employed and your employment is terminated for any reason then your work permit becomes invalid and must be returned to your employer and the procedure to cancel it must be followed.
If you have been granted an extension of stay by immigration based on employment then you must report the termination of your employment at your local immigration office where you will be given 7 days to leave the country.
If you are changing to a new employer then you will usually be able to do a visa run to a neighbouring country to obtain a new visa once you have the correct paperwork from your employer.
If you are an employer
- Foreigners who intend to work in Thailand should apply for an initial 90-Day Non-Immigrant B visa
- The work permit application takes place during the initial 90 days
- Once a valid work permit is obtained, the applicant can then apply for a 1-Year extension to their permission to stay
- Once you have a 1 year extension of stay then you must report your address to immigration every 90 days.
- A re-entry permit is required if the applicant wishes to travel outside of the country.
- Extensions of this visa can be done inside Thailand.
If you are self employed
If you are self employed and wish to work in Thailand, then you will need to register a Thai company with a minimum capital of 2 million THB (unless you are married to a Thai then it only needs to be 1 million THB), employ 4 Thai staff and apply for a work permit.
Thai companies owned by foreigners normally have a majority of 51% Thai shareholders and 49% foreign shareholders. The foreign owner can be appointed as Managing Director and have complete control of the company.
You must then register for a Social Security number and Social Security will come to inspect your office and interview some of your Thai staff.
Upon applying for the social security number you will be given a receipt which enables you to apply for your work permit. If you choose to apply for your work permit straight away you will only be granted a six month work permit.
However if you wait until your social security number has been issued which usually takes a few weeks and make your first social security payment then you will be eligible to apply for a 1 year work permit.