How to get a Thai work permit

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How to get a Thai work permit

First, check some basics about the commercial company by which you seek to be employed in Thailand. This is the most important thing and the lawyers at Sunbelt Asia can assist you through each and every step in the process! If you are applying to be a teacher or journalist, please don’t read further. For such occupations different regulations and requirements are followed. For other occupations, please continue…

1. REGISTERED CAPITAL. The minimum amount of registered capital required per work permit in the company is dependent upon the status of the company and the work permit applicant. If your company requires one work permit and the applicant is married with a Thai national, then the required amount of registered capital is 1,000,000 Baht. If your company is registered with BOI (Board of Investment), you can obtain multiple work permits without needing to increase the registered capital, depending upon the agreement reached with BOI. However, it is important to note that BOI companies need to be set up with a minimum of 1,000,000 Baht of registered capital. If your company does not have BOI approval and your foreign employees are not married with Thai nationals then you will require 2,000,000 Baht of registered capital per work permit holder.

2. THAI EMPLOYEES. There are requirements for minimum numbers of Thai employees per Work Permit for foreigners working in Thailand; this is dependent upon the status of the company. BOI approved companies usually have a relaxed ratio of Thai employees to foreign work permit holders. However, other companies will require 4 Thai employees for every work permit. It is important to note that there is an exception to this rule. If the company was formed less than one year prior to submitting the work permit application, the officer will accept 2 Thai employees per work permit. However, when coming to renew the work permit, the usual regulations will be enforced and the company will therefore require at least 4 Thai employees per work permit. Whereas, when applying for the visa Extension of Stay, the immigration requires the company to have at least 4 Thai employees (listed in Social Security Fund 3 months prior to the application). This is a compulsory requirement from the Immigration.

3. TAX, VAT AND SOCIAL FUND. Your company is paying tax and VAT and has the paper work in order. If your company address is in Bangkok, you will also need to ensure that you have paid the first month’s social fund for your Thai employees, keeping the receipt as evidence of this. In other locations around Thailand, you may be required to show more than one month’s social fund receipts, dependent upon the regulations in your province. This is very important. Shady companies with “office in the pocket” are not eligible to apply for a work permit for you!

4. Prepare all the paperwork for work permit application (as outlined below).  Having a Thai lawyer assist you in getting your Thai Work Permit is essential to having the most up to date information on the requirements and minimizing the likelihood of delays and multiple trips to the Labor Department. Sunbelt Legal Advisors are the most up-to-date in Bangkok on current regulations in securing your Thailand Work Permit.

Documents to be Supplied by the Employee:
Required documentation from the individual

  • Application form (W.P.2).
  • For non-permanent residents: A valid passport containing a Non-Immigrant visa.
  • CV or Resume showing application’s educational qualifications and describing in detail the applicant’s past position, duties, performance, and place and length of employment.
  • A recent medical certificate from a first-class licensed physician in Thailand stating that the applicant is not of unsound mind and not suffering from leprosy, acute tuberculosis, elephantiasis, narcotic addition or habitual alcoholism including Syphilis.
  • Copy of front page of passport and visa.
  • Three 5×6 cm. full-faced, bareheaded, black and white or color photographs, taken no more than six months prior to the filing of the application.
  • If the job applied for is subject to a license under a particular law, in addition to the Alien Occupation Law, a photocopy of such license, (e.g. teacher’s license, physician’s license, press card from the Public Relations Department, certificate of missionary status from the Office of Religious Affairs, etc.) shall be attached.
  • If the applicant is married to a Thai national, the original and photocopies of the following must be presented: Marriage certificate, spouse’s identity card, birth certificates of children, household registration, as well as photocopy of every page of the applicant’s passport.


Documents to be Supplied by the Employer
All documents must bear the company seal and the signature of the company Director with signatory authority.

  • Certificate issued by the Commercial Registration Department showing that the organization for which the applicant is going to work, has been duly registered as a juristic person, giving the name of the managing partner and/or director, and its objectives and capital (issued within the past 6 months).
  • A Copy of the list of shareholders of the applicant’s prospective company, certified as correct by the Commercial Registration Department (issued within the past 6 months).
  • If the company maintains a factory, a factory license and/or license to operate a factory, renewed by the Factory Department, Ministry of Industry.
    If the company maintains a restaurant, a food license. A Bar requires an alcohol license. A hotel a hotel license.
  • Copy of VAT Certificate (Phor.Phor.20)/application for VAT registration (Phor. Phor. 01)
  • Map of place of business.
  • Photos of the office inside and outside, with outside showing the company name and address.

Applying for the Work Permit
Check, check and double-check! Recheck all documents needed. Your Thai employer will say that everything is in order, but may not be!! So have the lawyers at Sunbelt Double check!
Apply for the work permit at the Labor Department covering the province in which the Company’s Head Office is located. (Employees working in a Branch office in other provinces must still apply in the province where the Head offices is located).
Most people get refused because they forgot to include a map in Thai showing the location of the company. Some other people get refused because they were not wearing a necktie in the photo. The photos of the office must also show clearly the Company name and address. Double check the requirements!  Sunbelt Legal’s attorneys know the requirements and thus you will not need to make several unnecessary trips to the Labor Department.
The application will take 10 days from the day of submission to the collection at the Labor Department.
Collecting of the Work Permit
Pick up your work permit.
You will need to pick up your blue work permit book in person at the Labor Department. You will be issued with a work permit valid for either 90 days, 6 months or 12 months; this decision is at the discretion of the officer. In line with new regulations, your visa and work permit are no longer tied together. Therefore, you can have a visa that expires on a completely different date to the work permit.
NOTE: Be sure that you do not overstay or travel out of the country without a Re-entry Permit, because then your visa will be invalid upon your return.

There are a number of grounds upon which a work permit can be granted (this is on a discretionary basis and will take into account usual considerations such as suitability and qualifications of the foreigner for the position):

  • The company must have a fully paid-up registered capital of 2 million Baht to hire one foreigner, plus one person for every additional 2 million Baht (to a maximum of 10 people).
  • If the registered capital of the company is less than 2 million the company can hire one foreigner if its total corporate income tax payment had been at least 5 million Baht for the past three years. The company can hire one foreigner for every 5 million Baht paid in tax.
  • The employer has engaged in export which has brought into Thailand revenue of 3 million Baht in the previous fiscal year. The employer can hire one foreigner for every additional 3 million Baht up to a maximum of 3 people.
  • The employer has at least 50 Thai employees per foreign employee up to a maximum of 5 foreign employees.
  • A foreign employee must have paid personal income tax of at least 18,000 Baht in the previous personal tax year or if the foreign employee has not worked in Thailand previously, documents for potential employers confirming that, the foreign employee will obtain income in Thailand of at least 50,000 Baht per month for an employee who is single and 60,000 per month for a married person, must be presented.

The Labor Department may also issue or renew work permits regardless of the above criteria when the foreign individual falls into one of the following categories:

-employed as an international trade representative inspecting product quality, purchases or conducting market surveys
-employed as an investment or management technology adviser or internal auditor
-a tour representative bringing foreign tourists into Thailand
-employed in an international financial institute endorsed by the Bank of Thailand
-employed a non-profit organization on a temporary basis
-employed as a contractor on projects for state agencies or public enterprises
-employed in a business that mainly required the use of local raw materials
-employed in the Thai export sector
-employed in a business introducing and transferring technologies to Thailand
-employed in a sector where qualified Thai employees cannot be found
-married the cohabiting with a Thai national and has an honest employment.

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