Foreigners who intend to work, run a business, or carry out investments in Thailand must be granted a work permit prior to starting any activities in accordance with The Alien Working Act, B.E. 2551.

What is considered work in Thailand:

The definition of work is defined to include any work involving physical strength or knowledge whether done for money or other means of remuneration.

A foreigner applying for a work permit must be either a resident or authorized to enter Thailand temporarily and not a foreigner with a tourist or transit visa. A non-immigrant visa must be obtained before the work permit applicant’s arrival in Thailand. (It is not impossible to convert a Tourist Visa to a Non-Immigrant Visa without leaving Thailand.) The application for the visa will be prepared by the Thai company as several company documents are required. Within 30 days of the date of arrival in Thailand the Thai Company will submit the application for the issuance of the permit.

Work permits are issued to employees for the specific position, in a specific company, at the specific location. The application approval can take up to 2 weeks. The foreigner will have to present herself to receive the document at the Labor Department.

After receiving it, the applicant can apply for a visa extension. The one-year visa and work permit will then be extended annually, provided that the foreigner meets the standard requirement.

A foreigner residing in Thailand without a valid visa will be fined THB 500 per day (maximum THB 20,000). Penalties for working without a Work Permit can include a fine ranging from THB 2,000 to THB 100,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

The company employing the foreigner registered in Thailand must have a minimum paid up capital of 2M THB per foreign employee, have applied to Tax ID and VAT registration and have not sponsored more than ten work permits.

Four Thai employees should be registered for Social Security Funds for a Thai limited company or a foreign company registered in Thailand.