Any foreign national who is planning to work in Thailand needs to apply for a working visa before they are legally allowed to commence work. It is important to note that there are restrictions on the types of work that foreigners are permitted to do in Thailand and people are only permitted to do the tasks that are outlined in their work permit. People who are found doing different types of work for money without the appropriate work permit risk being given a heavy fine and may even be deported from Thailand. Therefore, it is essential to obtain the correct work permit before doing business in Thailand. Here are details of how to get a working visa in Thailand.
Who Needs a Working Visa?
A working visa, which is also commonly known as a work permit, allows non-Thai citizens to work in Thailand as an employer or a skilled professional. Even non-Thai citizens who are planning on opening a business in Thailand need to apply for a working visa before they are able to legally work in Thailand. It is important to note that application for a working visa does not necessarily guarantee success and companies and individuals need to meet strict criteria.
The Company’s Registered Capitalisation
This is an important factor that helps to determine whether or not staff are able to be granted a working visa. Thai Business Entities that wish to obtain working visas for their foreign employees need to have at least two million baht fully that is paid up registered capitalisation. However, if the foreign employee has a Thai wife or husband, the registered capitalisation may be reduced to one million baht. This figure has to be multiplied by the number of foreign employees in the company that need working visas.
Foreign Business Entities that have operated their business in Thailand are able to assist their employees in applying for working visa as long as they are able to bring at least three million baht per employee into the country.
The Thai Business Entities Foreign Business Entities may be granted up to a maximum 10 working visas each, which means that they are able to have a maximum of ten foreign employees. However, BOI promoted companies are exempted from the regulations that are stated above. The Thailand Board of Investment is certified to grant BOI promoted companies special rights concerning the issuance of working visas for the foreign employees that are working on projects as technical experts for the company. Therefore, BOI companies need to determine the processes that they need to go through and the regulations that apply to them and it is best to seek advice from the board of investment in Thailand. However, in all cases at least one full time Thai staff member must be working in the company for every foreign staff member.
The Non-Immigration Visa
Before individuals can apply for or be issued with a work permit they must obtain a non-immigrant visa first. Whenever possible, the non-immigration visa should be obtained before the applicant arrives in Thailand and can be granted in the home country of the individual or in a neighbouring country such as Laos, Malaysia or Cambodia. There are also some professional visa and immigration companies that can help individuals to convert their tourist visa into a non-immigration visa without having to leave Thailand if necessary.
How to Obtain a Non-Immigration Visa
In order to obtain a non-immigrant visa outside of Thailand, applicants need to meet certain requirements. The applicant must have been offered a job in Thailand or is starting a business in Thailand and needs the visa in order to employ him or herself. The company who is employing the applicant requests for the applicant to be issued with a non-immigrant visa so that the company is able to apply for a working visa for the applicant. The company must express a strong level of confidence in the individual and be willing to confirm that they believe them to have good morals and be respectful to the culture of Thailand as well as abiding the laws of the country. People who wish to obtain a non-immigration visa must apply for it at least thirty days before they plan to arrive in Thailand. The Thai consulate or consular officer will ask for copies of all of the registration documents as well as financial statements from the company.
How to Obtain the Thai Working Visa
The employee must obtain and supply a number of different types of documents when applying for the Thai working visa. In addition to submitting their actual passport, they must also provide photocopies of each of the pages of their passport and each photocopied page must be signed and dated by the employee to show that they are authentic. The non-immigration visa must be supplied along with the Departure Card TM.6 that is found inside the passport.
Signed copies of professional qualifications such as the education degree (university degree), degree transcripts, certificates or licenses that are held by applicant including their resume or CV that contains a detailed description of the past jobs they have held along with their duties and the place and length of previous employment. Three photographs of the individual wearing business attire measuring five centimetres by six centimetres must be submitted along with these documents and the photographs must have been taken within the last six months.
If the applicant is married to a Thai national they must supply their original marriage certificate as well as signed photocopies of the marriage certificate and the Thai ID card of their spouse along with birth certificates of any children that they have together and their household registration.
In some cases the Thai government officials may require the education degree, transcripts and other licences or certificates to be certified by the individual’s home country embassy, which will require them to take their degree, resume, license or certificate to their embassy in order to declare that they are true and original documents. An authentication fee will be charged for this by the embassy before the service is performed. In addition, the Thai government may require individuals to translate these documents into the Thai language before they are accepted.
Documents that Must be Provided by the Employer
The employer needs to provide certain documents before the working visa can be granted to the employee. These include the Commercial Registration Department Certificate that proves that the organisation that the applicant will be working for has been correctly registered as a juristic person. The Commercial Registration Department Certificate must include the names of the managing director and director of the company as well as the company’s main objectives and registered capital. Other documents that need to be provided by the employer include the Shareholders List that is certified by the Commercial Registration Department, if applicable the Factory License that was issued by Factory Department or the Ministry of Industry, the VAT Certificate that is also known as the Phor Phor 20, the VAT filing that is known as the Phor Phor 30, the Withholding Tax form – Phor Ngor Dor 1 and Social Security Payment filing.
It is important to note that Thai government officials require for all documents to have the seal of the company stamped on each and every page and the original and authorised signatures of the Managing Director and Directors next to the seal. In some cases government officials may ask for official copies of registration, shareholder, licenses and certificates to have been issued by their respective agencies within the past ninety days of the application for a Thai working visa.
How to Get the Thai Working Visa Approved
There are several different points that the granting of the working visa is based on and one of the key points is the job description. It is important to make sure that this is written in such as way to convince the panel that are responsible for granting the working visa that the applicant has the required set of skills as well as the required knowledge for the job and this skills must exceed those of Thai workers. One of the important clauses regarding employment in Thailand states that employers are only permitted to employ foreign workers if they require skills that Thai people generally do not possess such as fluent reading and writing skills in English as well as other foreign languages and technical skills that are not taught in Thailand. If the board believes that these skills are widely available in Thai staff, the application may be rejected. In order to increase the chances of the application being approved, the company must word the job description very carefully and if necessary obtain the expert opinion of startup consulting services.
What to do after the Application Has Been Submitted
It is essential to make sure that your current visa does not expire while you are waiting to receive your Thai working visa. The system at the Labor Department is connected to the non-immigrant visa that individuals list on their application that they submit along with the working visa paperwork. It typically takes seven working days in Bangkok to obtain approval of the working visa for a company that has two million baht, although in other parts of Thailand such as Phuket the time period could be as long as two months. However, BOI approved companies are able to take advantage of three hour processing times at the One Stop Service Center. The Labor Department will issue a receipt that will state the return date for receiving the work permit book.
Signing for the New Thai Working Visa
Once your Thai working visa has been approved you will need to collect it from the Labor Department. This must be done in person and applicants must make sure that they take along their passport and sign the Thai work permit book in the presence of the Labor Department staff. A staff member from the Labor Department will put a stamp in the back of the passport at the time of receipt as confirmation.
Restrictions on the Thai Working Visa
People who have received a Thai working visa still have certain restrictions that they have to follow, and failure to stick to these restrictions could result in a fine and even deportation if it is discovered by the Labor Department. People who have been granted a work permit are only permitted to work within the said company. People who are assigned to another location of the same company are obligated to obtain a new work permit that will cover them to work in the new location. This is also required if and when the individual decides to leave their job and work with another company. This specification is due to the fact that the Thai working visa is issued to the employee for the specific company at the specific location only. People who leave their current place of employment for any reason need to surrender their work permit to the Labor Department within ten days. The company that the individual has been working for is also obliged to inform the Labor Department that the individual is no longer working for them and the working visa will automatically be cancelled even if the individual does not show up in person to surrender their work permit book.
Obtaining a Tax ID Card
Once the application for a Thai working visa has been arranged and prepared, the individual is also required to obtain a Tax Identification Card through their employer. The tax ID card contains details of the individual’s Tax Identification Number, which will be used for any documents that need the tax identification number, which is also known as the TIN.
Applying for a Re-Entry Permit
Even though a working visa typically lasts for a full year, it is important to note that the visa will automatically be cancelled as soon as an individual leaves Thailand by plane, train or bus. This means that the Thai working visa will no longer be valid and as soon as individuals come back into Thailand they will be forced to apply for a brand new work permit so that they can continue working. Many foreign employees have gotten caught out because they went on holiday for a few weeks, not realising that they working visa will be cancelled.
In order to avoid this happening, individuals must apply for a re-entry permit before leaving Thailand. This will allow them to leave the country and come back in again without affecting the status of their Thai working visa. There is a few for the re-entry permit and it must be applied for either at immigration or at the immigration desk at the airport. People who are planning to purchase a re-entry permit from the airport should allow extra time to do this, as queues at the immigration desk can sometimes be rather long. People who know that they will be travelling in and out of Thailand either for business or pleasure also have the option of applying for a multiple entry work permit. Although this is slightly more expensive than the standard work permit, it can save time, trouble and money in the long run. When the individual re-enters Thailand they should explain to the official on the immigration desk that they have a re-entry permit so that they receive the correct stamp in their passport. In some cases the official may also ask to see the individual’s work permit book to make sure that the visa stamps and dates match.
Renewing the Visa and Working Visa
The visa needs to be renewed before an individual applies for a new working visa to avoid the situation that the visa expires while the working visa is being processed. A new visa can be applied for either within or outside of Thailand, depending on the case and the circumstances that are involved. If the individual has been granted a multiple entry visa, they will be required to leave Thailand every 90 days and then come back into the country. This can be done on the very same day if desired, as long as the exit is recorded by the immigration department. If the individual fails to leave the country, their visa will automatically be cancelled and they will have to apply for another one before they can continue working. Renewing the working visa is generally much easier than applying for a new one and a new Thai working visa will be issued to individuals who are able to supply a valid contract stating that they have been contracted to work for the same company for at least another year.
The 90 Day Report
All foreigners who stay in Thailand for an extended period of time due to working, studying or marriage are required by law to report their presence in Thailand every 90 days. Failure to do this will cause the individual’s visa to be cancelled, as many foreigners have discovered to their peril. However, leaving the country is counted as fulfilling these obligations provided that the individual has a re-entry permit, while it is also possible for individuals to ask someone to go to immigration on their behalf to complete the 90 day report.
Contact the Experts
It is important to understand that the rules and regulations for obtaining working visas in Thailand as well as the fees that are involved are constantly changing. Keeping up with all of these changes can be tricky and time consuming. Therefore, people who are starting a business in Thailand and need to provide working visas for their foreign staff should contact a professional startup consulting company such as Start Up in Thailand. The company’s legal experts will be able to provide full details on the working visa application process including how long it takes to obtain the visa and the fees that are involved to make sure that companies remain protected and avoid legal issues that can arise due to incomplete or incorrect applications.