Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Thai Work Permit’

26th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the US business visas categorized as the B-1 visa and the H-1B visa are making headlines on the World Wide Web. To quote directly from the official website of First Post, FirstPost.com:

Infosys announced on Tuesday that it had received a subpoena from a US District Court demanding documentation of its B1 visa usage, which is  the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

Those reading this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above in order to gain more perspective on this developing story. Concurrently, readers are also asked to remember that those accused of an illegal act, whether a natural person or a corporation, are innocent until proven guilty pursuant to America law.

Those unfamiliar with these visa categories should note that the B-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa designed for use by those who intend to remain in the United States for a short period of time for business meetings or training. Such travel documents do not permit the bearer to take up employment within the jurisdiction of the United States. Meanwhile, the H-1B visa is intended for those who wish to  undertake employment in the United States of America. In much the same way that a Thai business visa does not confer the right to work in the Kingdom of Thailand, only a Thai work permit entails such privileges, so too does a B-1 visa exclusively permit the bearer lawful status in the USA upon admission. Therefore, those wishing to work in the USA are generally required to obtain a visa which permits the bearer to work or obtain Employment Authorization. Those who have lawful permanent residence pursuant to entry in the USA on a CR1 Visa or an IR1 Visa are allowed to work in the USA.

The aforementioned article went on to note:

The DOJ’s criminal investigation is not the only legal claim Infosys is facing in relation to B1 visas. As Firstpost has previously reported, an Alabama-based employee named Jack “Jay” Palmer filed a civil lawsuit against the company in February alleging that Infosys used the B1 visa as a way to “creatively” manoeuvre around H-1B visa caps. (Infosys has consistently been the top recipient of H-1B visas in the US.)

Those seeking American immigration benefits should be aware of the fact that the privilege of working in the United States is not always easily obtained. Furthermore, those pondering immigration benefits should note that it is never prudent to be anything but 100% honest with American immigration officials as failure to be candid regarding one’s bona fide immigration intentions could have tremendous adverse ramifications. Consequences for failure to be forthright with immigration authorities could include fines, penalties, incarceration, or a finding of legal inadmissibility. Those found to be legally ineligible for admission to the United States of America may be able to rectify such inadmissibility through use of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 waiver, depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Meanwhile, it appears that the Department of Homeland Security‘s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is taking criticism from a federal legislator regarding the methodology surrounding the groping of individuals passing through airports in the USA. To quote directly from the official website of Real Clear Politics, RealClearPolitics.com:

The Hill reports: “I walked through … right behind me there was a grandmother — little old lady, and she was was patted down,” Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia) said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” “Right behind her was a little kid who was patted down. And then right behind him was a guy in Arabian dress who just walked right through. Why are we patting down grandma and kids?”

The administration of this blog strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to learn more.

It is certainly a credit to Representative Paul Broun that he is questioning TSA policies regarding groping of prospective passengers as it is this blogger’s personal opinion that such searches violate the provisions of the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. This news comes on the heels of a recent announcement that lawmakers in the sovereign State of Texas have withdrawn a recent bill brought before that State’s legislature to curtail the activities of the TSA. To quote directly from the website of the Texas Tribune, TexasTribune.org:

A threat from the federal government to shut down Texas airports or cancel flights may have killed legislation by Tea Party conservatives in the Texas Capitol to prohibit federal Transportation Security Administration agents from conducting “invasive searches.” “I don’t cave in to heavy handed threats by the federal government,” said an angry Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, the Senate sponsor of the bill, who ultimately withdrew the bill. House Bill 1937, which was passed by the House earlier this month, would make it a misdemeanor offense for a federal security agent to “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person.” Two TSA officials visited Patrick at the Capitol earlier today to discuss the legislation. They warned him that the legislation “could close down all the airports in Texas,” he said…

This blogger encourages readers to click on the hyperlinks above to find out more.

Clearly, the issue of TSA “pat downs” is controversial and can raise tempers. This blogger encourages readers to keep abreast of the stories above at it seems likely that the underlying issues will continue to be poignant in the days and weeks ahead. This may be especially true in the context of an upcoming election as issues pertaining to U.S. immigration and the 4th amendment may be of concern to prospective voters.

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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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17th April 2010

In previous posts, this author has discussed visa runs and border runs. Another common method of obtaining lawful status in the form of a Thai visa is by traveling to Thai Embassies and Consulates outside of the Kingdom of Thailand. This can be a difficult endeavor for some, but the difficulty can be increased as Embassies and Consulates change their internal rules frequently. This is a by-product of doctrines similar to that of Consular Absolutism also known as Consular NonReviewability. This doctrine states, in a nutshell, that Consular Officers are given wide latitude to use their own discretion when making factual determinations about visa issuance.

Recently, this author has learned that the Royal Thai Embassy Kuala Lumpur will no longer issue the 1 year multiple entry Thai business visa to those with a work permit that is valid for less than 7 months. In the past, it was routine to see the 1 year Thailand business visa issued to those with a valid work permit regardless of the duration of its validity. Now, it seems that only a 90 day business visa will be granted to those with a Thai work permit that is valid for less than 7 months.

In recent years, the Thailand work permit and the Thailand visa have been effectively “decoupled” in the sense that one is no longer necessarily dependent upon the other. For a long period of time one had to have a work permit in order to obtain a Thai visa extension. Once that extension was obtained one needed to then extend the work permit so that the two documents’ validity were in sync. This has changed as the Ministry of Labour is more apt to grant a 1 year work permit to first time applicants and then the applicant can easily obtain a visa extension. The side effect of this system is that Thai Embassies and Consulates are increasingly less willing to issue one year Thai visas since their personnel view the decision regarding issuance of such a long term travel document ought to be made by the Royal Thai Immigration Police in the Kingdom of Thailand.

When analyzed, this policy makes sense as the Royal Thai Immigration Police in Thailand are often better equipped to adjudicate visa extension requests. However, there are often very compelling reasons why an applicant would wish to obtain a 1 year multiple entry visa from outside of Thailand. One notable reason, such a travel document would not require the issuance of a Thai Reentry Permit as would be necessary if a one year visa extension were issued.

It should be noted that each Thai Consular and/or Diplomatic Post has a different set of rules with regard to visa issuance so what is the rule at one post may not be the same at another.

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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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9th March 2010

For general information on this subject please see our main page at: Education Visa Thailand.

One Thai visa category that is not often discussed on the pages of this blog is the Thai ED visa. This visa category was created for those who wish to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand for the purpose of pursuing academic study. In the past, this seemed to have been limited to colleges and universities, but increasingly many people are seeing the benefits of holding a Thai ED visa while also seeking proficiency in the Thai language. Many Thai language schools have been established in the last 5 years in order to cater to the increasing demand for Thai language study.

The Thai language can be extremely difficult for westerners to pick up because the language is tonal. This means that the entire word can be changed merely by the way it is tonally pronounced. This author can say from experience that proficiency with the Thai tones can be a difficult feat, but once this obstacle is overcome the benefits are extraordinary as Thai people greatly appreciate those foreigners (farangs, falangs) who take an interest in learning the Thai language.

Thai is a very subtle and complex language that has a rich history. As Thailand was never colonized by one of the so-called “Great Powers” the language was never displaced by an alien tongue. This creates and interesting linguistic environment as Thais have taken in those parts of other cultures’ languages while retaining their own linguistic identity.

As to the Immigration privileges accorded to those on a Thai visa for education: first, a major benefit is the fact that an ED visa holder does not need to worry about so-called “border runs” or “visa runs” since the ED visa allows the bearer to remain for the course of study. That being said, ED visas are not very beneficial for those wishing to work in Thailand as they do not entitle the bearer to apply for a Thai work permit, except in extremely rare circumstances. However, if one is on an ED visa and gets a job in Thailand, then it may be possible to change visa status and apply for a work permit, but this is not the most efficient way of getting Thai work authorization so if one is not yet in Thailand and may wish to work, then it may be best to apply for a Thai business visa prior to departing for Thailand as a long term business visa could be easily obtained by certain applicants.

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3rd March 2010

As readers of this blog may recall from a previous post, the Thai authorities recently announced that the fee waiver for Thai tourist visas was ending in March of this year. However, ThaiVisa.com has recently reported that the tourist visa waiver program is to be re-instituted in April of this year. Apparently, the positive impact upon the tourism sector is one of the underlying reasons for the extension of this program:

“Less than one month after Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Thaivisa.com that the free tourist visa scheme would end on March 5, 2010, the Thailand Government has announced the tourism stimulus package will continue for another year, including $US10,000 in free riot insurance for tourists. The extension of the tourism industry stimulus package was approved by the cabinet today, March 2, 2010 in response to a request from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The extension will be effective from April 1, 2010 and go through to March 31, 2011 and appears to leave a three and a half week window in which tourist visas for Thailand will be charged for.”

As some may recall from another previous post on this blog, many Royal Thai Embassies, Consulates, and  Honorary Consuls around the world were unhappy with the no-cost tourist visa scheme as the funds previously accrued from processing tourist visas were no longer being paid. How this recent announcement will impact the Honorary Consulates as well as the Embassies and Consulates-General remains to be seen.

Another interesting aspect of the recent announcement is the fact that foreign nationals are also to be provided with no-cost riot insurance as part of this new program to revitalize the Thai tourist industry. To further quote from ThaiVisa.com:

“The $10,000 free riot insurance coverage was introduced last year and initiated by the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) in response to international insurance firms’ refusal to sell insurance coverage to visitors to Thailand following the 2008 closure of Thailand airports by members of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD). When the insurance coverage was first introduced last year, Kongkrit Hiranyakit, president of TCT, said the government had set aside Bt190.75 million ($US5.820 million) for the initial six month period covering May to October, 2009, with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports responsible for paying the insurance premium of $1 per visitor. The insurance policy provides for payments of up to $10,000 in the event of death, injury, and/or trip inconvenience, and appears to only cover people in possession of a 60-day tourist visa. Resident expatriates living and working in Thailand on non-immigrant visas do not appear to be covered for death, injury or inconvenience caused by riots.”

It will be interesting to see if the provision of this insurance will cause any stir among foreign residents as all of those who do not have Thai Permanent Residence are technically considered non-immigrants and therefore only “temporarily” staying in the Kingdom. This even applies to those with a Foreign Tabien Baan (also know as a Yellow Tabien Baan) as these registrations are specifically noted as “temporary.” Even though all non-residents are classified as non-immigrants, the category of the visa determines the privileges that will be extended to the visa holder. Therefore, those with a Thai business visa are entitled to file for a Thai work permit while those holding a tourist visa are not accorded that privilege. As a result, the provision of riot insurance could be viewed as as specific privilege that is only accorded to those holding certain types of Thai visas.

For further information about Thai Immigration please see: Thai visa.

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16th February 2010

Thailand is considered one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. In recent years, Thailand has boasted some of the highest tourist numbers in Asia, but as the world economic downturn continues, fewer Americans are traveling to Thailand as tourists. However, that state of affairs is poised to change as Thailand is being heralded as a great destination for budget-conscious travelers. In many ways, the buying power of the US dollar has only been slightly diminished in the Kingdom of Thailand and the dollar still represents disproportionate buying power for Americans in Thailand.

In order to remain in Thailand, an American must either obtain a Thai visa exemption stamp or a Thai visa. One of the many questions that many Americans pose regarding Thai visas is: how do I get a long term Thai visa? Many are under the mistaken impression that obtainment of a long stay Thai visa can be more easily accomplished from Southeast Asia. This is often not the case. For many, obtaining a 1 year Thai visa can be more easily facilitated if the applicant is in the United States at the time of application. That being said, proper document preparation is essential and many American applicants opt to retain the services of Thai immigration specialists in order to streamline the process.

The proper visa category is also an issue for many Americans. The plethora of Thai visa categories can be mind boggling, but fortunately there are a few major categories that cover the activities of most applicants. The first major category is the Thai business visa. Thai business visas are perfect for those conducting business in Thailand. These travel documents are also a benefit to those who are seeking employment in the Kingdom of Thailand. In many ways, a Thai business visa is extremely helpful when it comes to applying for a Thai work permit.

A Thai O visa is a sort of “catch all” category that is most commonly used by Americans with family members in Thailand. However, under the moniker of the “O” category there is the sub-category for retirees. A Thai retirement visa can be extremely beneficial for those who simply wish to remain in the Kingdom of Thailand in order to enjoy their so-called “golden years.”

An increasingly popular visa category is that of the Thai ED visa. This visa is often utilized by those in Thailand who wish to remain in the Kingdom in order to pursue a course of study. In many ways, ED visas are very beneficial to those from other countries. That being said, these types of visas often do not confer work authorization and therefore many opt not to obtain an ED visa as it is usually difficult to obtain a Thai work permit.

For more on this issue please see: Thailand visa.

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25th January 2010

Thai Visas From Canada

Posted by : admin

Thailand has been voted one of the top vacation destinations for those on a budget. Many believe that Thailand with its beautiful weather, captivating beaches, and incredible nightlife, is truly a modern paradise. Many look to the Kingdom of Thailand as a great place for long term tourism or as a location for retirement. No matter what one’s desires are, Thailand has something for everyone. In recent years, Immigration rules, regulations, and restrictions have made staying in Thailand for a long period of time something of a challenge. However, there are still ways in which foreigners can obtain long term visas.

For those of Canadian nationality who are thinking of remaining in Thailand long term, it may be better to obtain a Thai visa while in Canada rather than traveling to Thailand and seeking a Thai visa extension from within the Kingdom. The reason for the need for preparation is based upon the fact that Thai Immigration does allow a foreigner to enter Thailand for a period of 30 days without a visa. At the time of this writing, this rule applies to Canadian nationals. However, the fact is that the foreigner in the Kingdom in this status does not actually have a Thai visa, but instead has a Thai visa exemption. Therefore, applying for an extension in Thailand is very difficult as, legally speaking, there is no visa to extend. This scenario often creates a situation in which the foreigner must then do a “visa run” to an Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand in order to obtain a visa and return to the Kingdom.

By obtaining a Thai visa before leaving Canada, Canadians can forestall the need for a visa run as Thai multiple entry visas can sometimes be issued with a validity of one year. Upon each entry, the foreign national using a 1 year multiple entry visa will be admitted to the Kingdom for a period of 90 days. That being said, in order for a new 90 days of lawful status to commence all the foreign national need do is leave the Kingdom and reenter. In a sense, this is a visa run, but it only occurs every 90 days rather than once every 30 or 60 days. Also, in this situation, there is no need to go to an Embassy near Thailand as the foreigner’s 90 day stamp should be granted automatically upon reentry.

Another issue that should be considered is that of employment. A 1 year multiple entry Thai business visa can be used as a basis for submitting a Thai work permit application.

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24th January 2010

Thai business visa rules can be confusing for some as those who are new to the Kingdom of Thailand can become confused by the Thai Immigration system. Even seasoned expatriates in Thailand have trouble keeping up with the constantly changing rules and administrative procedures. The reason for the confusion can at least be partially attributed to the fact that, like US immigration rules and regulations, there are two Thai government agencies with overlapping authority where Thai visa matters are concerned. The first agency is the Royal Thai Immigration Police who are similar to United States Immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security in that they oversee the administration of Thai Immigration rules from inside the Kingdom. Then there is the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through Thai Embassies and Consulates abroad, is tasked with adjudicating visa applications outside of Thailand and when said visa applications are approved they are tasked with promulgating visas.

This brings us to the issue of Thai visa extensions. For many foreign nationals working in the Kingdom of Thailand a visa extension is necessary in order to remain in the Kingdom long term. Some opt to use multiple entry visas, but generally, these visas are not convenient for those who wish to remain uninterrupted or eventually apply for Thai Permanent Residence.

In recent months there has been some discussion among Thai government officers about tightening up the Ministry of Labour regulations regarding foreign workers. Apparently, new rules will go into effect in February 2010 which would make Thai work permit rules more stringent. This will likely have a collateral impact upon those seeking Thai visa extensions as work permit renewal is usually required by Thai Immigration before they will extend a Thai visa. At one time, the One Stop Service could be used by employees of companies with a high registered capital or BOI Companies. One Stop Service allowed foreigners to apply for both a work permit renewal and a visa extension at the same time.

However, One Stop’s jurisdiction has been significantly curtailed and the service itself is effectively non-existent for small businesses. Now, most foreigners wishing to renew their work permit and visa must do so by first making a trip to the Ministry of Labour and then traveling to the Royal Thai Immigration Police headquarters to extend the visa after work permit renewal. At this time, the process seems cumbersome, but there is some hope that the system will be streamlined so as to facilitate more efficient processing of work permits and visas.

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10th January 2010

Work Permits are always an important issue for foreign nationals living in Thailand. Under Thai law, the right to work is bifurcated from the right to remain in the Kingdom. Therefore, many find that it can be easy to be lawfully admitted to Thailand on a validly issued Thai visa and remain for relatively long periods of time, but it can be difficult to obtain work authorization in the form of a Thai work permit. One of the reasons for this difficulty is that the Thai Foreign Business Act restricts the types of activities that foreign nationals are allowed to engage in while present in Thailand. In many ways, Thailand has maintained protectionist measures in order to insulate the Thai labor force from some of the detrimental side effects of globalization.

Recently, it was announced that the government would be easing some of the restrictions in the Thai Foreign Business Act. At the same time, the Thai government has also announced that the rules still on the books would become the subject of more stringent enforcement. This leads us back to the issue of work permits. It would appear that the government is preparing to allow foreign companies to engage in certain previously restricted activities, but the upshot of this is that the rules and regulations regarding activities that are still restricted will be enforced more diligently than before.  To quote a recent posting on Thaivisa.com from the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand Magazine:

“Unfortunately, the Labour Department has revised Work Permit regulations and a new list of the types of work foreigners are allowed to conduct will be issued by February 2010 at the latest. According to the current draft of the Ministerial Regulation, the new rules and practice will impact on current work permits (when they are extended) and also new work permits. [...] Despite the position of all foreign Chambers that liberalisation and streamlining of visa and work permit regulations would be advantageous for attracting and retaining much needed foreign investment, certain ministries appear to have taken the opposite view.”

It would appear that the Thai Ministry of Labour is taking a rather tough stance with regard to the enforcement of work permit regulations.

Although it is quite common to see such attitudes in difficult economic times, this author cannot help but wonder if this is the best course of action for the overall Thai economy. Small and medium sized businesses owned or managed by foreign nationals will likely be the most adversely impacted by this new policy and there is strong evidence that such enterprises act as the driving force for the economy-at-large. In these tough economic times, attracting foreign skilled labour and investment may be better than promulgating rules that make working in Thailand more difficult.

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