Thailand Alters Rules and Requirements for Foreign Workers

Recently, the Thai government passed a new law amending the regulations, requirements, and penalties for foreigners working in the Kingdom.

Perhaps the biggest changes are the new exceptions that allow some non-Thais to work in the country without first obtaining a work permit.

Before now, existing Thai law regarding foreign workers stated that “the use of physical strength or knowledge for engaging in an occupation or a job with or without an intention to obtain wages or any other benefit” is prohibited.

But the recent changes make three significant allowances, which make getting a work permit unnecessary:

(1) a non-Thai who comes to Thailand on a short-term periodic basis to: hold or to attend a meeting, lecture, seminar, training, exhibition of art or culture, or sports competition; provide an opinion; inspect work of others; or, any other activities, as prescribed by the Council of Ministers.

(2) a non-Thai who enters into Thailand to: operate a business; make an investment; or who has knowledge, ability, or skills that are considered beneficial to the development of the country.

(3) a non-Thai legal representative (e.g. director) of an alien juristic person that is licensed to operate business under the Foreign Business Act (1999).

On top of that, the amendment also gives the green light for non-Thais to perform “emergency work”, meaning urgent or necessary work that takes no more than 15 days–with one 15 day extension allowed.

And finally, the new law lessens the penalties for foreigners performing work illegally in Thailand as well as the companies employing them:

(1) the penalties for working without a work permit under Decree No.1 was an imprisonment for a term not exceeded five years or a fine ranging from B2,000 to B100,000, or both. But under Decree No. 2 that has been reduced to a fine ranging from B5,000 to B50,000 and the imprisonment penalty has been repealed; and

(2) the penalties for employing a non-Thai employee without a work permit under Decree No. 1 was a fine ranging from B400,000 to B800,000 for each employee so employed. Under Decree No. 2 this has been changed to a fine ranging from B10,000 to B100,000.

Read the full story here.

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