Kommentare deaktiviert für Visa and Work Permit under the BOI Scheme
Since 15th June 2016, it is possible for foreigners to obtain a visa (extension of stay) and work permit in Thailand for a period of two years, under the Board of Investment (BOI) or the Industrial Estate Authorized Thailand (IEAT) schemes. In specific cases, a period of even four years may be granted.
1. Two-year visas and work permits
Foreigners employed by BOI or IEAT promoted companies may obtain two-year visa and work permits from the One Stop Service Centre, and would not need to deal with the Labour Department or Immigration Office. The process is quicker and can be completed in a single day, after the online registration process has been completed.
The process of visa and work permit application is as follows:
1. The company intending to bring in a foreign skilled worker contacts the BOI and IEAT office to issue an invitation letter. This application is carried out online and can take between 1 to 2 weeks.
2. The invitation letter issued by the BOI or IEAT office should be delivered to the foreigner along with supporting company registration documents, for the foreigner to apply for a non-immigrant business visa(type B only) (90 days) at a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad.
3. The company should submit an online request to “open a position” for the foreigner to work under the company, where details of the foreigner’s position, job description, etc. will need to be provided. The consideration process for opening a position takes approximately one week.
4. Once the position is opened and approved, the application for the foreigner’s work permit and visa extension can be submitted online. This process usually takes between 3-4 business days.
5. The final step involves the foreigner physically going to collect the work permit booklet from the Employment Office and having his visa extended at the Immigration Bureau, both located at the One Stop Service Centre for Visas and Work Permits. The visa and work permit may be granted for periods of 1 year or 2 years depending on type of business.
2. Four-year visas and work permits
Moreover, the BOI announced that certain foreign workers employed by either International Head Quarters (IHQ) or International Trading Centers (ITC) may be granted visa extensions and work permits for up to 4 years (together with their dependents).
Kommentare deaktiviert für Obtaining a Work Permit in Thailand
Work Permit Requirements
As in any other country in the world, foreigners require a governmental permission prior to working in Thailand. In this article, we will explain the administrative process related to the application for a work permit. Individuals applying for Thai work permits must qualify under the Thai law. The applicant must have the knowledge or skills to perform the work as stated in the description of the position provided in the application for the work permit. Thai law also requires that the foreign national is not insane or mentally sick, nor sick of leprosy, tuberculosis, drug addiction, alcoholism and elephantiasis, and not having been imprisoned for violations of the immigration law or the foreign employment law in the year before applying for a work permit.
The „Land of Smiles“ is an attractive destination for both tourists seeking fun and professionals seeking opportunities. However, the Kingdom of Thailand has many regulations concerning travel and residence in the country. Foreign nationals must obtain visas if they wish to enter the Kingdom. Thailand is also a party to many bi-lateral agreements which allow citizens of certain foreign countries to stay for short periods without having to obtain a visa. Thailand also has provisions to allow foreign nationals to apply for work permits to work in the Kingdom.
1. Entry Visas
The laws and regulations regarding visa and work permit in Thailand are extensive, and the Immigration Bureau frequently revises its regulations to adjust to new circumstances and policies. It should further be noted that the various Thai embassies and consulates have specific policies which may vary.
Foreign nationals of the country that made an agreement with the Thai government according to Interior Ministerial Regulation shall be permitted to stay in Thailand according to the period which is mutually agreed between Thailand and the respective other country. Foreign nationals from 42 countries and Hong Kong SAR will be able to enter into the Kingdom of Thailand without a visa and stay in Thailand for 30 days per each visit (“Visa Exemption„). However, the total duration of stay shall not exceed 90 days within a six month period, counting from the date of the first entry.
Tourists who wish to enter the Kingdom must apply for a Tourist Visa with the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate in their country. A tourist visa is for a maximum duration of 60 days (depending on nationality), for the purpose of tourism only and may be extended for another 30 days (depending on nationality).
Foreigners who wish to work or conduct business in Thailand should apply for a non-immigrant-B-visa. This visa may be issued by an embassy or consulate abroad. There are different types for this kind of visa, namely a single entry visa with permission to stay for 30 days and a multiple re-entry visa which is issued for one year but permission to stay for only 90 days and the requirement to do so-called „visa runs”. The non-B visa can be issued for foreigners doing business in Thailand or for employment.
There are various other types of visa, permitting to stay in Thailand on the basis of marriage, retirement, diplomatic status, etc.
Obtaining a One Year Visa (Visa Extension)
The consideration of permission for a foreign national to temporarily stay in Thailand for one year without the need of visa-runs (‘Visa Extension”, issued by the Immigration Office in Thailand) must follow the following rules and documents listed below:
1. That foreign national must have a Non-Immigrant visa, and
2. the foreign national must have an income in the amount of 50,000 THB (for citizens of Europe, Australia) or in the amount of 60,000 THB (for Japan, Canada and United States of America) or in the amount of 45,000 THB (for Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong SAR and Malaysia) or in the amount of 35,000 THB (for Asia and South America).
3. The employer must have a registered capital of not less than Two Million THB, and
4. The employer must have submitted a balance sheet of the last financial year which has been audited by a certified public accountant in order to show a good financial standing. The total of Shareholders‘ Equity in the balance sheet will not be less than One Million Thai Baht, and
5. The employer must have submitted a profit and loss statement (Statement of Income) that has been audited by a certified public accountant (the year end date must be the same date on the balance sheet and the total revenue in the said Statement of Income must not be less than the total money that the business is required to pay for salary for every foreign national), and
6. The employer is required to hire a foreign national, and
7. The employer must have a ratio of employment of one foreign national per four permanent Thai staff.
Under current Immigration Regulations, if a foreign national stays in Thailand for a period longer than 90 days, he/she must notify the Immigration Division (“90 days reporting”). This regulation applies even after the foreigner has obtained a one-year visa. This 90-day period is calculated from the date the foreigner last checked through Immigration.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any inquiries regarding the above: [email protected]
Our next blog article will explain the process of applying for work permits in Thailand, sign up to our newsletter and we’ll send you articles like this every month.
Kommentare deaktiviert für Visa and Work Permit for a Business Trip to Thailand
For business trips to or short term employment of foreigners in Thailand, this article summarizes the available options regarding the necessary visa and work permits:
1. Business Visa
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” and business-approved Visa Category „B-A“:
The Non-Immigrant Visa Category “B” (Business Visa) is issued to applicants who wish to enter the Kingdom to work or to conduct business.
The holder of this type of visa is entitled to stay in Thailand for a maximum period of 90 days. He or she may apply for an extension of stay at the Office of the Immigration Bureau and may be granted such extension for a period of one year from the date of visa expiration.
This type of visa may be applied for at the Embassies or Consulates abroad, but first of all the approval shall be given by the Office of the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok before the visa is issued to the qualified applicant. The applicant’s associated company in which he or she will invest in or conduct business with may apply for this type of visa on behalf of the applicant at the Office of the Immigration Bureau. Once the application is approved, the Immigration Bureau will advise the concerned Royal Thai Embassy or Royal Consulate-General via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue the visa to the applicant.
The holder of this category “B-A” visa will be permitted to stay for a period of one year from the date of first entry into the Kingdom.
However, it should be noted that this type of visa is rather uncommon and the practices are lacking clear and specific rules set forth in the law. The process is therefore rather tedious.
2. Work Permit
A foreigner shall apply for a work permit as soon as he engages in work by “exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits“. Working in Thailand is subject to the Working of Alien Act (B.E. 2551).
The work must be eligible and the foreigner must be employed by an eligible employer. It is provided that such eligible employer must be a Thai national, or is legally permitted to conduct business activity in Thailand.
A) Exemptions and Special Cases
However, the Working of Alien Act stipulates certain exemptions. The following occupations explicitly do not require a Work Permit:
Representatives of member countries and officials of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, as well as their family and personal servants;
Members of the diplomatic corps or consular missions, as well as their family and personal servants;
Persons who perform duties on missions in the Kingdom under an agreement between the government of Thailand and a foreign government or international organization;
Persons who enter the Kingdom for the performance of any duty or mission for the benefit of education, culture, arts, or sports; and
Persons who have received special permission from the Thai government.
Furthermore, it should be note that attending meetings, seminars, lectures, appearing in court, or even buying things for the purpose of export are not considered as “working”.
B) Temporary Work Permit
For engaging in necessary and urgent work for a period of not exceeding 15 days from the date of issuance work permit, according to Section 7 of Alien Working Act B.E. 2521 (1978) and Regulation of Department of Employment B.E. 2546 (2003), the foreign worker may apply for a Temporary Work Permit.
Work related to administration, academic matters and an unlimited period is not considered as „necessary and urgent work“, except in a case where damage may be incurred if the work is not performed in time.
The temporary work permit does not require the company, as usually, to have a registered capital of at least 2 Million THB and employment of 4 Thai staff per one foreign staff. But the company must prove that it is an urgent and necessary work and needs a foreigner to perform on time, and otherwise there would be damages to the company. This kind of work permit can be allowed once but under no circumstances be renewed.
One significant advantage of the temporary work permit is the fast process: if the applicant applies for a temporary work permit, the process should take only one working day (if the application is correct and complete), while for a normal WP the process usually takes, at least, five working days to proceed. The Registrar of Labour Department may impose any condition in the work permit to be complied with by the foreigner.
Before applying for the temporary work permit, the foreign staff must have entered the Kingdom of Thailand with a non-immigrant “B” visa.
C) Work Permit through General Process
If the period of temporary work permit is too short, another option is to apply for a work permit through the general process. This, however, requires a Thai employer with a registered capital of at least 2 Million THB/one foreigner. The foreigner may apply for a work permit for a minimum period of 3 months.
A non-immigrant–B-visa is required for this process.
3. Expedited Process under the BOI Scheme
Furthermore, if the Thai employer is promoted by the Thai Board of Investment (BOI), the BOI may issue a visa and temporary work permit for one month without specific requirements (regarding registered capital or employment of 4 Thai staff).
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the above.
Kommentare deaktiviert für Visa / Work Permit for Foreigners with Thai Spouse
If a foreign employee is married to a Thai citizen, the foreigner may apply for a non-immigrant-O-visa (dependent visa) in Thailand. For the one-year extension of such visa, issued by the Immigration Office, in particular the following will be required:
Evidence of income of not less than 400K/year, e.g. bank statement;
ID card of the spouse; and
Physical presence of the spouse.
The foreigner is then entitled to apply for a work permit under privileged conditions from the Department of Employment. For such work permit, in particular the following will be required with regards to the employer:
Capital of 1 Million THB for this foreigner and
2 Thai staff employed for this foreigner.
There is no requirement for a non-immigrant-B-visa in connection with such work permit, the non-immigrant-O-visa is sufficient. However, if a non-immigrant-B-visa is preferred and applied for, please note that 2 Million THB capital are still required for such visa application.
Kommentare deaktiviert für Stricter Rules for Work Permit Extensions
Regarding the work permit extension, the officer has discretion to extend the work permit for a time period not exceeding two years, depending on the company’s compliance with Section 21 of Foreign Workers Act.
The officer will consider the financial statements of the employer related to the preceding year as well as VAT payments of the employer. Now, according to a new practice of the Labour Department, if the company has no income or income lower than One Million Thai Baht shown on the latest financial statement or VAT documentation, they will use their own discretion to extend the work permit for only 6 months. This practice is based on any specific law or regulation, rather it is an internal policy from the head of the Labour Department within their authority. The finances of the employer would be reviewed and considered. If the company operates continuously at a loss, the Labour Department questions how the company can do business without any profit and that it not reasonable to do business this way.
However, the aforementioned policy is not strictly enforced. The Labour Department will be flexible if appropriate reasons are provided to explain why the company operates at a loss or has no any income at this moment. If the reason is acceptable, they will agree to extend the work permit for one year. The matter will be considered on a case by case basis.
Kommentare deaktiviert für Opening a bank account without a work permit at Bangkok Bank
On a more practical note, clients often ask us for assistance with opening a personal bank account in Thailand. Such an account offers a lot of benefits, but many foreigners, who are only visiting Thailand for a relatively short period of time, have faced problems with meeting the bank’s requirements. Most banks ask for a business visa and a work permit, even for the setting up a simple savings account. But a few banks are more flexible than that. For example, foreigners can open a savings account at Bangkok Bank, which is one of the major Thai banks, and apply for additional services such as Debit Card, ATM and Internet Banking, by holding tourist visa only and without holding a work permit.
At Bangkok Bank, currently the documents that you need to provide are
1. your passport,
2. one further official identification document, such as a reference letter from your embassy, your home bank or another person acceptable to the bank.
3. your address in Thailand as well as your regular address in your home country.
Please feel free to contact us if you require assistance with handling your banking matters in Thailand.
In certain cases, business requires to second foreign staff to Thailand on a short-term or urgent basis. They may then apply for a temporary work permit to perform urgent and necessary duties. The application for this kind of work permit should be finished within a period of 15 days. A work related to administration, academic matters and unlimited period is not considered as “necessary and urgent work”, except in a case where damage may be incurred if the work is not performed in time.
Please see the following list of required documents for a temporary work permit application:
Completed Form W.P.10 and one photograph (3 x 4 cm.) plus one copy
Letter showing the reason why applicants need to perform urgent and necessary duties such as invitation letter and agenda etc.;
A copy of the passport (the pages showing the photo and entry VISA);
A copy of the company registration of the Thai employer (updated within six months) and a copy of its VAT registration. The Form Phor Por 01 identifying the type of business, which is certified by the authorized director of the employer;
A copy of the employer’s work permit, in case he is a foreigner. If that employer is not working in Thailand or has no work permit, Power of Attorney certified by Notary Public and Thai Embassy is required.
In case of Thai employer, a copy of employer’s l.D. card.
Power of Attorney from the foreign employee (applicant) and the employer with 10 Baht stamp duty affixed and a copy of the attorney’s I.D. card (if applicant and employer are unable to apply in person).
Regarding the requirement of work permit in urgent case (work permit for 15 days), it is the same to normal work permit, means that the authorized capital has to reach 2 million, and also 4 Thai permanent staffs per 1 foreign employee.
One significant advantage of the temporary WP is the fast process: if the applicant applies for a temporary work permit, the process should take only 1 working day (if the application is correct and complete), while for a normal WP the process usually takes at least 5 working days to proceed.
Kommentare deaktiviert für Visa issues when your work permit is cancelled
The Royal Thai Police has issued Royal Thai Police’s order No.327/2557 dated 30th June 2014, which took effect on 29th August 2014. Since then, a standing administrative practice has been established, which we would like to summarize in this article:
According to a more recent internal regulation, the immigration officer may allow a cancellation of the visa stamp about 3 weeks before the end of the employment. In that case, the time will be sufficient to apply for a new work permit (for the new employment) and a visa extension before the end of the current employment.
The process will then be as follows:
1.The Immigration Office must be notified and the non-immigrant B visa must be cancelled.
2. Following that, the work permit must be cancelled together with returned the booklet to the Labour Department.
3. Upon receipt of the notification, the Immigration Office will issue a formal permission for the employee to stay in Thailand in accordance with the letter of previous employer. If the notification is submitted to the Immigration Office not longer than 3 weeks before the end of the employment, the Immigration Office will grant such permission to stay in Thailand until the employment ends.
4. During this 3-week period, the employee may apply for a new work permit and extend a non-B visa under the new employment respectively.
Please note that the usual processing time for a new work permit at the Labour Department is taking for 5 working days. The processing time of the new visa extension at the Immigration Office may be as short as 1 day. If there is no any interruption to the visa application, the immigration office will stamp the pending visa on the same day. After that, the foreigner needs to follow up to get one-year visa stamp on the appointment date. Therefore, ample time to complete the process is available.
Otherwise, if this process is not followed, the foreign employee who needs to change his job must apply for a 7-day extension to stay after the current employment ends. This means that Non-B visa is terminated. Then, he must leave the country and apply for an entirely new Non-B visa abroad.
This applies to foreigners who are allowed to stay in the kingdom under 1 year visa extensions. With regards to a 1 year Non-B visa which was issued from a Thai embassy/consulate and if the foreigner has not applied for a visa extension at Immigration Office yet, this does not apply, and the Non-B visa remains valid after the end of the employment until its usual expiration date. Only if the visa previously has been extended by the Immigration Office, the visa will expire immediately in the circumstances mentioned above.
Therefore, we recommend clients who are changing their employment to address the respective changes of visa and work permit in a timely fashion and not later than 4 weeks before the end of their old employment.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.