Visa: The Gateway to Working in Thailand
Should you intend to enter the Kingdom of Thailand for work purposes, you have to secure a special set of documents, different to those when you are just a tourist. You need to acquire a Non-immigrant visa prior your arrival to Thailand. There are actually several different categories of Non-immigrant visa such as Category ‘B’ business visa, Category ‘O’ business visa, Category ‘O-A’ retirement visa and many others. Different types of visa have different privileges especially concerning to the length of stay in Thailand. However, we will be giving emphasis on the one required for working in Thailand. If you wish to work in Thailand, you need to secure a Non-Immigrant ‘B’ Visa plus a work permit. Before even coming to Thailand, this Non-immigrant ‘B’ Visa must already be ready. The work permit must also be secured prior to the start of work. It is encouraged that this type of visa be processed while you are still in your country.
For this type of visa, some proofs of employment, evidences of eligibility, approval letter of appropriate government agencies are necessary. These are necessary to support your claim of working in Thailand. The complete set of requirements may be viewed in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Employers should be the one to apply for your work permit. The government regulates the number of foreigners that a company can hire depending on its Thai-foreigner employee ratio and the company’s capital. Visa fee is 2,000 Baht if you opt for a single entry type and is valid for three months. Multiple entries with one year validity cost 5,000 Baht. Non-immigrant visa B can be extended to one year without exiting the country as long as certain requirements are met.
Work Permit Basics
Before you can apply for a work permit, you must present either a non-immigrant visa or residence permit. The issued work permit indicates the area where you can be employed. Working beyond the specified area written inside the work permit is same as violating Thailand law. Foreigners who are engaged in business or any kind of work in Thailand must have an approved work permit as well from issuing Department of Employment. When we say work, it does not only mean physical activity. Even mental activities or use of one’s knowledge for wages or other benefits or even without payment can be considered as work. To work without a valid work permit even for a single day is punishable and considered a criminal offense. A foreign employee proven to be guilty of this charge is subject to jail for three months and/or fined as much as 50,000 Baht. Even employers suffer the consequences by finies up to 60,000 Baht and/or up to three years imprisonment. One also has to take note that there are types of jobs that are limited only to Thai nationals. Usually, these are on manual labor, handicraft making, and even hairdressing.
Once you have acquired a work permit, you can start working legally in Thailand. Receiving income is possible as well as opening Thai bank accounts, applying for credit cards and bank loans, getting mobile phone contracts, and purchasing a car. You are also eligible in paying Income Tax in Thailand. Included in its provision is that you can also apply for a one year extension of your visa. The only thing you cannot acquire just yet is land.
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