Employment for foreigners
There are two laws which apply to the conditions under which foreigners in Thailand are allowed to carry out wage-earning employment. These are the foreign enterprise law, better known as the “Alien Business Law” (ABL), and the Foreign Employment Law (FEL).
The FEL arranges all positions for foreigners, but not for Thai citizens, and also takes care of the laws applicable to business operations for all foreigners.
A person hired for employment is not permitted by law to work before his/her visa and work permit have been formalised. The employer has to comply with these rules and is also responsible for employing a foreigner without a work permit. In addition, no work can be carried out or other activities be undertaken which are not in accordance with a work permit.
The FEL has published a list of all professions which are exclusively for Thai citizens and which are excluded for foreign employees, even for those with a work permit.
Rules for a work permit
When applying for a work permit the applicant is obliged to submit the necessary documents which comply with the laws and regulations applicable at that moment. Foreigners requiring a work permit can submit a request. In principal, work permits are issued annually, however, always go by the visa date in the passport.
Visa regulations to be eligible for a work permit
Every foreigner with the intention of working in Thailand enters the country with a “non-immigrant” visa, applied for at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in the land of origin. Husbands/wives and/or accompanying children follow the same procedure and require the same visa and documents. The visa is normally valid for 90 days or one year and may be extended in Thailand every year for a period of one year. This visa gives the right to apply for a work permit. Holders of another type of visa, such as tourists, cannot apply for a work permit. In order to apply for a visa and a work permit it is necessary to follow the laws, guide-lines and regulations applicable in Thailand, and to submit the appropriate additional documents.