Integrity Legal

25th Nov 2009

The Thai Ministry of Labour seems to be preparing for a major overhaul of the Thai work permit rules. Currently, Thai work permit regulations are relatively straightforward and the process is not particularly cumbersome. However, it would appear that new rules will be put into effect in the beginning of 2010. The following is a brief overview of the proposed rules and requirements.

Currently, there is a list of jobs that foreigners can and cannot engage in, an updated list of the types of employment which foreign nationals will be permitted to engage in will be promulgated on or before February 23, 2010. Pursuant to recent drafts of the updated Ministerial Regulations on the kinds of work that foreign nationals are permitted to engage in, these updated rules and will impact on currently valid work permits as they will be reevaluated upon extension.

The new protocols will force foreign nationals, when submitting a request for a work permit to be issued or renewed, to explain both the type of work (apparently, there will be between six and eight employment categories) and the actual job title that the foreign national will apply for.

Information regarding Ministry approved positions will not be available to the public as only officers at the Thai Ministry of Labour will have the list of approved positions. This list will be in an “internal guidebook,” which will only be distributed within the Ministry.

If a foreigner applies for a position that is not listed in the Ministry’s “internal guidebook,” the application will likely be denied. The foreign national may submit a new application but it will be placed under heavy scrutiny by the officers.

The sponsoring company’s business plan will also be required as well evidence showing that the company attempted to employ a Thai national in the position, but was unsuccessful in finding anyone to fill the role.

It should be noted that although these new rules will not have a direct affect upon one’s Thailand visa, failure to obtain a Thai work permit before one’s visa extension application is due could result in an inability to obtain a new visa extension and thereby cause the foreigner to fall out of status. For those staying in Thailand on a business visa, it may be wise to keep an eye upon the work permit rules as these rule changes will likely affect a foreigner’s ability to remain in the Kingdom in their current position. Those who own a company in Thailand should stay abreast of the rules as they could have a major impact upon a company’s human resources department.

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