Integrity Legal

Archive for the ‘Thailand Work Permit’ Category

16th December 2010

Those who read this blog may likely have noticed that the issue of Thai immigration is a frequent topic of discussion. Recently, this author came upon an interesting announcement regarding the issuance of Thai reentry permits at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. The following is quoted directly from the official website of Suvarnabhumi International Airport:

The Re-Entry Application Procedures and Requirements At Suvarnabhumi Airport
Date : 07 – 12 – 10
1. Aliens must submit the applicatoin by themselves.
2. The date of submitting application must be the date of departure.
3. Gather the required documents as below
- Passport or travel document (1 original plus 1 copy)
- One recent photograph (4X6 CM.)
- Fees – Single 1,000 Baht
- Multiple 3,800 Baht
4. Submit the application and required documents at Immigration Departure Division (East Zone), Suvarnabhumi Airport.
5. The service open daily from now on

In a previous posting on this blog, the administration pondered the prospect of Thai reentry permits and whether they would ever again be available at the airport as opposed to the Royal Thai Immigration Headquarters at Chaeng Wattana. It would appear that from this point onwards, Thai reentry permits will be available to departing foreign nationals at the airport.

For those who are unfamiliar with the protocols and rules associated with Thai immigration, anyone present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a Thai visa must obtain a reentry permit prior to leaving the Kingdom of Thailand. Those who fail to obtain a Thai reentry permit prior to departing Thailand may lose their Thai visa status upon departure. For this reason, reentry permits should be obtained by anyone in Thai visa status who wishes to return to Thailand. A frequently asked question in this vein is: do I need a reentry permit if I am present in the Kingdom on a visa exemption? The short answer: no. Those who enter the country on a Thailand visa exemption cannot obtain a reentry permit as they are not technically in possession of a valid Thai visa. Those present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a Thai visa extension are required to obtain a Thai reentry permit prior to departure lest the foreign national fall out of status entirely upon departing Thailand. The same can be said for those who are present in Thailand with lawful permanent residence. A Permanent Resident in Thailand must receive authorization to leave the country whilst simultaneously maintaining lawful status in the Kingdom or else face the prospect of falling entirely out of status upon departure.

Those who are present in the Kingdom of Thailand on a multiple entry one year Thai visa should not need to obtain a Thai reentry permit when departing the Kingdom, but those with a multiple entry visa are generally required to depart the Kingdom at least every 90 days in order to maintain lawful status.

Fore related information please see: Thailand business visa or Thai Work Permit.

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26th September 2010

Those who track this blog may have noticed that there has been an increase in political activities which have disrupted the otherwise calm political and economic environment in the Kingdom of Thailand. There are many who feel that these disruptions are only temporary and will not prove detrimental over the long term. In the short term, individuals and businesses in Thailand are analyzing some new risks which have manifested themselves over the past 9-12 months. To quote directly from Westlawbusiness.com:

Several companies have recently disclosed risks arising from the political turmoil in Thailand. For example, Priceline.com, an online hotel auctioneer, recently disclosed that “civil unrest in Thailand, a key market for our Agoda business and the Asian business of Booking.com. This may result in “significant year-over-year declines in booking volumes in this market….Thailand has experienced disruptive civil unrest in prior years as well and continued or future civil or political unrest could further disrupt Agoda’s Thailand-based business and operations.”

Communication cable manufacturer General Cable is also reporting that it is subject to business risk arising from unrest in Thailand. The copper, aluminum, and fiber optic wire and cable products provider recently disclosed that its “business is subject to the economic, political and other risks of maintaining facilities and selling products in foreign countries. . . Thailand recently experienced significant political and militant unrest in certain provinces. The country’s elected government was overthrown in September 2006, with an elected government only recently restored.” [emphasis in original]

Political turmoil can have substantial unforeseen consequences for some businesses and business models operating throughout Asia. This is why retaining the assistance of local legal counsel can be advantageous for multinational corporations as professionals with on-the-ground knowledge of local business customs and practices can guide clients away from unforeseen legal, and in some cases; business, risks.

There are many, this author included, who feel that the current political turbulence in Thailand is simply a “bump in the road” eventually leading to overall tranquility and economic prosperity in the Kingdom of Thailand as well as the South East Asia region. Bearing that in mind, those wishing to establish a business or corporate presence in Thailand are well advised to conduct research and due diligence before making irrevocable business decisions as  maintaining a corporate presence in Bangkok, or the emerging markets in Cambodia, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Malaysia, and Vietnam can be fraught with unforeseen legal and business issues which may not arise in jurisdictions such as the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, or Canada.

Many wishing to do business in Thailand opt to do so under a Thai Limited Company as this type of juristic person provides a measure of limited liability. Limited Liability is often one of the first methods employed by those wishing to hedge against unforeseen future business risks. American businesses may also enjoy many benefits pursuant to the language of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Regardless of the type of corporate structure, any foreigner wishing to work in the Kingdom of Thailand must obtain a Thai work permit prior to taking up employment pursuant to Thai labor law.

For related information please see: Bangkok Lawyer or Amity Treaty Company.

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26th June 2010

In a recent posting on the Chiang Mai Mail website, issues surrounding foreigners’ rights in Thailand were discussed. The issues came up in the context of a recent road show conducted by the Thai Ministry of the Interior. Foreigners residing in Thailand sometimes find it difficult to fully exercise their rights as the rules themselves can be somewhat vague. For example, the issue of alien registration on a Thai Tabien Baan can be confusing as few foreign nationals are fully aware of their right’s regarding registration. To quote the Chiang Mai Mail’s report about the recent Interior Ministry Roadshow:

Holders of Permanent residency can get a blue book (Tor Ror 14) and holders of temporary visas can get on the yellow book (Tor Ror 13) before they can apply for naturalization. The Provincial Administration reiterated an important point, that foreigners have the right to be listed on the census registration, “It is not well known even among officials. We have contacted registration officials that you have this right and you should insist on it.”

For many, registration on a Yellow Tabien Baan is beneficial because many Thai government offices view a Tabien Baan as definitive proof of lawful presence in Thailand and use the information in the Tabien Baan accordingly. Another issue that came up at the aforementioned roadshow was the issue of naturalization of those seeking Thai Citizenship. In the past, the language requirements for naturalization were rather stringent. During the recent roadshow the spokesperson for the Interior Ministry commented upon the revised linguistic requirements for naturalization to Thai Citizenship:

The requirements for naturalization were laid out, including the income requirements for both those married to Thais and those not married to Thais. The linguistics requirement has been reduced but the applicant must be able to sing the National and Royal anthems. Speaking and listening is mandatory but reading and writing is no longer required.

Finally, of particular interest to many foreign nationals in Thailand is that of the 90 day “check in” for foreigners present in the Kingdom on a “temporary” visa such as a Thai business visa or a Thai O visa. Regarding the Ministry of Interior’s stance on the issue, the Chiang Mai Mail was quoted as saying:

The next issue under discussion was Immigration and the right of habitation. Immigration officials discussed the various visas and how to obtain them as well as how to obtain Permanent Residency. The main issue of contention brought up by multiple Consul Generals, including Japanese Consul General Junko Yakata, was that of the 90 day reporting required of all foreigners on long stay visa extensions. Consul General Yakata told the officials that there are 3,000 Japanese nationals living in Northern Thailand. She requested a simplification of the process, perhaps by extending the length of time needed in between reports.

Chinese Consul General Zhu Weimin requested a change in the 90 day reporting procedure as well, citing the large numbers of Chinese students who attend Chiang Mai schools who cannot take time off from school to travel to Immigration to report. He suggested they open on the weekends for those who have jobs and classes.

The official justified the 90 day reporting by saying “it allows us the best possible protection. If someone goes missing then we have more recent information as to their whereabouts to give to the Embassy.”

90 day reporting is currently required of those foreigners remaining in Thailand on a Thai visa extension. Anyone in the Kingdom on an extension must report their address every 90 days. As can be gathered from the above quotation, some foreign nationals in Thailand feel that the 90 day reporting requirement is cumbersome. However, Thai authorities seem unwilling to change the rules as the current system would seem to provide the most efficient method of maintaining records as to the last known addresses of foreign nationals in Thailand. This is important as Thai authorities can use the data from 90 day reporting to apprise foreign governments of the location of their citizens for purposes of death or disappearance in Thailand. In this author’s opinion, the 90 day reporting scheme is rather cumbersome, but no one, as of yet, has provided a feasible alternative which would comport to the needs of all concerned.

For Related Information please see: Thailand Permanent Residence.

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15th April 2010

In a recent posting of the website ThaiVisa.com, the issue of Thai tourist was discussed in the context of Thai Immigration. Frequent readers of this blog will remember that until March of this year, Thai Tourism officials, in conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had been granting tourist visas to Thailand free of charge. Apparently, this program is to be extended. The following is quoted from ThaiVisa.com:

“The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has extended tourism stimulus measures for one year until 31 March 2011 to assist tourism related entrepreneurs who were affected from the demonstration of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD). Tourism and Sports Minister Chumpol Silapa-archa announced on Thursday that the ministry has resolved to extend the assistance measures to help tourism related entrepreneurs while road show activities must be organized on a continuous basis to further stimulate tourism. The stimulus measures include the exemption of visa fees for foreign tourists, travel insurance for foreign tourists of not more than 10,000 USD, low interest rate loans, and extension of loan payment periods.”

Hopefully, these measures will provide a benefit to Thailand’s struggling tourism sector which will likely be adversely impacted by the unrest in Bangkok that has occurred over the recent weeks. The report went on:

“The minister added that the number of tourists travelling [sic] into Thailand at airports in general have not decreased, but on the other hand, is more than the number in the same period last year because the figure last year was very low. Mr Chumpol admitted that tour bookings in Bangkok would be affected from the mass rally of the UDD now taking place at Ratchaprasong Intersection. However, those in other areas, especially in the southern islands of Phuket and Samui would not be affected.”

This author would argue that although Tourism has been impacted by recent events in Thailand. There may be another explanation for the seemingly lower tourism figures (or at least the lower numbers of people pursuing Thai Tourist visas). One of the causes could be the fact that more and more tourists in Thailand are “Long Stay” tourists, meaning that they prefer to remain for 3,6, 9, or even 12 months at a time. Many such travelers prefer to come to Thailand using an O visa as such a visa can be granted with a validity as long as one year. Others prefer to use a Thailand business visa. A Thai business visa provides the benefit of creating a foundation for a Thai work permit application should the need for such documentation arise. Although an individual present in the Kingdom on a business visa does not strictly meet the definition of “tourist,” many people come to Thailand using a “B” visa and conduct business meetings in Thailand before pursuing more recreational activities.

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19th March 2010

Many people ask this author: Why do I need a Thai work permit? There is a common misconception that the Thai Labor and Immigration authorities take a lax stance with regard to unauthorized employment. Many others labor under the misconception that a Thai visa, particularly a Thai business visa, confers the right to work in Thailand. Unfortunately, many people believe that the Thai “mai pen rai” (no worries) attitude extends to those working illegally in the Kingdom. This is simply untrue as Thais view unauthorized employment as a serious violation of Thai law.

In the United States, the expansion of some of the powers of the Department of Homeland Security has resulted in the relatively new phenomenon of Federal agents raiding businesses in search of those aliens working illegally. Operations such as this fall under the mandate of agencies such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Service. In the Kingdom of Thailand, the Immigration and Labor authorities are not nearly as sophisticated as their counterparts in the United States of America, but they seem to take their jobs no less seriously.

As a case in point, recently the Pattaya Daily News website is reporting the following:

“A Briton, who was working illegally as a bar cashier at a beer bar in Pattaya’s Walking Street, was arrested by Immigration officials and will be prosecuted under the terms of the Immigration Act dealing with offending aliens.”

A long term expatriate in Thailand would not be greatly surprised by this announcement as most long term residents are used to some of the more draconian measures that are sometimes taken with regard to unauthorized employment in Thailand. With that said, compared to the United States, the Thai authorities are generally fairly lenient on most immigration matters, but there are exceptions and unauthorized employment can be problematic for the person working illegally. To quote the aforementioned website further:

“Pattaya, March 17, 2010, [PDN]: at 1am this morning, a team from Chonburi Immigration Office (which has recently amalgamated the respective Immigration departments of Pattaya and Chonburi), led by Superintendent of Immigration, Police Colonel Athisavis Kamolruth, surrounded [a bar], located [on] Walking Street, as it had come to their notice that there was at least one foreigner working there illegally, without a work permit…The team duly identified themselves as officers of the Immigration Police and asked for [the foreigner's] passport and work permit. When he was unable to produce a  work permit, the Immigration Police took him to the Chonburi Provincial Immigration Office at Jomtien for further questioning...He was duly cautioned that as an alien, temporarily in the kingdom, he was not allowed to work and would be prosecuted for having contravened the law.

One aspect of this article that is interesting to note is the fact that Immigration agencies in Chonburi are consolidating and it would seem that by doing so they are becoming a more dynamic organization with an eye toward better enforcement of Thai Immigration and Labor laws.

For further information about Immigration to Thailand please see: Thailand visa.

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