More on work permits.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Thailand had made major changes to the rules regarding work permits and its foreign labour law.

The changes, which were introduced on March 27 2018 in the Emergency Decree on Non-Thais’ Working Management (No.2) (2018) (“Decree No. 2”), saw Thailand relax some of its laws regarding work permits, including reducing the penalties for foreigners found working without work permits.

For example, foreigners can no longer be sent to jail for working without a work permit.

Also scrapped was the rarely enforced requirement that all foreigners who come to Thailand to attend meetings, seminars or sports competitions need a work permit.

The changes also meant that foreigners could now work in some occupations that had previously been prohibited to non-Thai nationals.

Arguably the most significant change was that the Decree states that a foreigner who has  work permit in Thailand can now work anywhere and for anyone and carry out work not listed in the description on their work permit, providing it is not excluded under the list of occupations prohibited to foreigners.

Now documentation released by the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand taken from its meeting held on Friday 24 August has revealed more information on the changes to the laws regarding foreign workers, the highlights of which can be found below:

Definition of “work” under the Working of Aliens Act, B.E. 2551 (2008) is very broad:

• “engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits”

• New definition of “work” under the Emergency Decree B.E. 2561 (2018)

• “engaging in any profession, with or without employer, but excluding operation of business of a licensee under the Foreign Business Law”

• Exceptions to work include:

− Participating in conferences and seminars

− Visiting exhibitions or trade fairs

− Visiting business sites or attending business meetings

− Attending special or academic lectures

− Attending lectures or seminars on technical training

− Purchasing activities at trade fairs

• No Work Permit required for a Smart Visa holder

Changes to Work Permit Laws, Regulations & Enforcement

Emergency Decree on Foreigner’s Working Management No.2 B.E. 2561 (2018)

• Work Permit is not required for:

− Persons who enter Thailand from time to time to hold or to attend a meeting, training, seminar, art or cultural exhibitions, or sports competition

− Persons who enter Thailand to operate business or to make investment or who have knowledge, ability, or high skills, which would be beneficial to the development of the country

− Representatives of a foreign company with a Foreign Business License under the Foreign Business Act

• No longer required to submit application for amending Work Permit for:

− Changing of Position

− Changing of scope of work / job description

− Changing of address of the company

Provided that the expat still work with the same employer

• Reduce maximum penalty for working without work permit

From: Imprisonment for five years or a fine of THB 2,000 to 100,000 or both

To be: A fine of THB 5,000 to 50,000 and deported from the country

• Reduce penalty for employer

From: THB 400,000 to 800,000 for each foreigner employed without Work Permit

To be: THB 10,000 to 100,000 for each foreigner employed without Work Permit




Changes to Work Permit Laws, Regulations & Enforcement

Plan to remove 12 occupations from the list of 39 prohibited occupation

1. Labour work

2. Masonry, Carpentry, or other construction work

3. Cultivation, animal breeding, forestry and fishery work

4. Supervising, auditing or providing services in accounting

5. Mattress and quilt blanket making

6. Knife making

7. Shoemaking

8. Hat making

9. Civil engineering works

10. Architectural work

11. Dressmaking

12. Pottery or ceramic ware making

Remaining 27 prohibited occupations and add 1

1. Wood carving;

2. Driving motor vehicles or non-motorized carriers, except for piloting international aircraft;

3. Shop attendant;

4. Auctioneering;

5. Gem cutting and polishing;

6. Hair cutting, hairdressing and beautician work;

7. Hand weaving;

8. Mat weaving or making of wares from reed, rattan, kenaf, straw or bamboo pulp;

9. Manufacture of manual fibrous paper;

10. Manufacture of lacquerware;

11. Thai musical instrument production;

12. Manufacture of nielloware;

13. Goldsmith, silversmith and precious metal work;

14. Manufacture of bronzeware;

15. Thai doll making;

16. Alms bowl making;

17. Manual silk product making;

18. Buddha image making;

19. Paper and cloth umbrella fabrication;

20. Brokerage or agency work, except in international business;

21. Manual cigarette rolling;

22. Tourist guide or tour organizing agency;

23. Hawking business;

24. Thai character type setting;

25. Manual silk reeling and weaving;

26. Clerical or secretarial work;

There is also discussion of tax breaks for new businesses set up in the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor), specifically in Chonburi, Chachoengsao and Rayong and 5 year visas for BOI members

3. Declared SEP Zone

• Chonburi – Hemaraj, Eastern Seaboard, Amata, Pinthong, Yamato

• Rayong – Hemaraj, Eastern Seaboard Rayong, CP

• Chachoensao – TFD Industrial Estate

• Smart Park Rayong (EECd)

• WangChan Valley Rayong (EECi)

• U-Tapao Airport (EEC-A)

There was no reference to the recent changes covering people “work for themselves” as reported previously.


By Juninho

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