In order to legally work in Thailand, a foreigner must apply for a work permit. Work permit is a legal document that states a foreigner’s position, current occupation, or job description and the Thai company he is working with. It also serves as a license to perform a job or an occupation allowed for foreigners inside Thailand. Foreigners entering Thailand are not permitted to work, regardless of their type of visa, unless they are granted a work permit. Those who intend to work in Thailand must hold the correct type of visa to be eligible to apply for a work permit. A foreigner, who is arrested for working without work permit, will be punished with a fine or imprisonment.
To secure a work permit in Thailand, a foreigner needs an initial visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. The non-immigrant visa must be obtained before entering Thailand. Foreigners who wish to work, conduct business or undertake investment activities in Thailand must apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa at the Royal Thai Embassies or Royal Thai Consulates-General. Various categories of the Non-Immigrant Visa are currently provided to meet the needs and qualifications of individual business persons. These include business visa Category “B”, business-approved visa Category “B-A” and investment and business visa Category “IB”. Holder of this type of visa wishing to work in Thailand must be granted a work permit before starting work. Once the foreigner has a non-immigrant visa, he may begin to process the work permit. Once you enter Thailand the immigration official will stamp your passport for 90 days. During this 90 day period you need to apply for a work permit at the labour department. For majority of nationals, a tourist visa to a non-immigrant visa can be converted without leaving Thailand but it may take up to 1 or 2 months for this conversion process.
During this 90 day period you need to apply for a work permit at the labour department. Work permit application is processed in the Ministry of Labor office. A foreigner is eligible to apply for a work permit as long as he has a non-immigrant visa or a resident visa, has an available employer who will provide documents for work permit, and the occupation he will perform is not prohibited to foreigners.
If all documents are submitted correctly and properly, the labour department will issue you with a work permit and the immigration department can then extend your visa to whatever the date of expiration on your work permit is. If you are hired for one year and your work permit is for one year, Thai Immigration can extend your visa up to one year to expire with the expiration of your work permit.
In general, the success of a work permit application depends on the hiring company’s registered capitalization.
Thai Business Entities who want to apply their foreign employee for work permits must have at least two million baht fully paid-up registered capitalization.
Foreign Business Entities who had operated their business in Thailand can apply their employees for work permit if they bring at least three million baht per employee into the country.
The entities above may be granted to maximum 10 work permit per active entities. However, the BOI-promoted company is an exception from the regulations above. Thailand Board of Investment is authorized to grant the promoted companies special right concerning the issuance of work permit and visa for the foreign employee working on those projects. The promoted companies might be increased in the number of work permits and visas that company would normally qualify for.