Work Permit in Thailand.

Thailand is a booming country for foreigners to work and to build a business, it interests not only for its neighboring countries but the Western countries and European countries as well. Foreign nationals are permitted to work in the Kingdom of Thailand with permission from the Royal Thai Government. This permission is granted in the form of a ‘work-permit’ and stipulates the name of employer, name of employee, position, nature of work, and location of work. Foreign employees are required to ensure that they remain compliant with the conditions of the work permit.

There has been an increase in number of expatriates working in Thailand, as the demand of foreign workers rises, the process of acquiring legal documents have varied accordingly. Majority of the expats who are working in Thailand are from the neighboring ASEAN counties such as Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. Teaching Positions as well as skilled worker positions are usually the target of the expats, but as time goes by, the ministry of labour have been requiring specific documents in order to acquire a legal and proper documents for foreigners working in Thailand.

Table of Content:

1. Thai Work Permit 2. Prohibited Occupations for Foreigners in Thailand. 3. Documents needed for a Thai Work Permit. 4. Conditions for the Thai Work Permit to be approved. 5. Conditions for Thai Immigration to consider work permit . 6. What Siam Attorney can do for you?

1. Thai Work Permit

To be able to work in Thailand and stay in the country without needing to regularly apply for visa extensions, you will first need to obtain a Non-Immigrant Visa, followed by a Thai work permit. There are strict penalties, including fines or imprisonment, for foreigners who take up employment without a work permit, so don’t be tempted to go down this route.

Non-Immigrant Visa is usually issued at the Embassy or Consulate of Thailand at your home country. Non-Immigrant Visa is usually processed together with the help of the hiring company and the expat, it may require some effort but after the issuance of the Non-Immigrant Visa, the work permit will be the next step.

2. Prohibited Occupations for Foreigners in Thailand

There are some certain occupations that are prohibited to foreigners in Thailand according to the Ministry of Labour (MOL).

  1. Labour work;
  2. Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, or fishery, except work requiring expertise, specialized work, or farm supervision work;
  3. Bricklaying, carpentry or other construction work;
  4. Wood carving;
  5. Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft;
  6. Shop/Outlet attendance;
  7. Auction;
  8. Supervising, auditing or providing services in accounting, except internal auditing on occasions;
  9. Cutting or polishing diamond or precious stones;
  10. Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment;
  11. Cloth weaving by hand;
  12. Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw or bamboo pellicle;
  13. Mulberry paper making by hand;
  14. Lacquerware making;
  15. Making Thai musical instruments;
  16. Nielloware making;
  17. Gold ornaments, silverware or pink gold making;
  18. Bronze ware making;
  19. Thai doll making;
  20. Mattress and quilt blanket making;
  21. Alms bowl making;
  22. Hand making of silk products;
  23. Buddha image making;
  24. Knife making;
  25. Paper or cloth umbrella making;
  26. Shoemaking;
  27. Hat making;
  28. Brokerage or agency work, except broker or agency work in international trade;
  29. Civil engineering works concerning design and calculation, organization, research, project planning, testing, construction supervision or advising, excluding work requiring special expertise;
  30. Architectural work concerning designing, drawing of plans, cost estimating, construction directing or advising;
  31. Dressmaking;
  32. Pottery or ceramic ware making;
  33. Cigarette rolling by hand;
  34. Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation;
  35. Street vending;
  36. Typesetting of Thai characters;
  37. Silk reeling and twisting by hand;
  38. Clerical and secretarial work;
  39. Legal service or lawsuit work;

3. Documents needed for obtaining a Thai Work Permit:

    • Passport – copies of every page. Each copy must be signed by the employee.
    • Non-Immigrant Visa Type B
    • Departure Card TM.6
    • Education degree (signed copy)
    • Transcript (signed copy)
    • Certificates or licenses held by applicant (signed copy)
    • CV or Resume – describing in detail the applicant’s past positions, duties, performance, length and place of employment.
    • Photos – three (3) photos sized 3 x 4 cm (not passport size photos). Each photo should show the applicant’s full face and be taken wearing business attire (no hat, and in some jurisdictions, a suit and tie are required). The photograph must have been taken within six (6) months before the application for the Thai work permit.
    • Medical certificate for the 6 diseases specified in the application form.
    • Marriage Certificate (if married to a Thai National) – including the original and signed photocopies. Spouse’s Thai ID card, birth certificates of children (if any), and household registration should also be included.

4. Conditions for the Work Permit to be approved:

    • Working for an establishment with a registered capital of at least 2,000,000 Baht. One expatriate can be hired for every 2,000,000 Baht of capital but not more than 10 expatriates.
    • Working in an establishment, which has already paid income tax to the Revenue Department in the past 3 years not less than 5,000,000 Baht. For every 5,000,000 Baht tax payment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate.
    • Working for an establishment, which engages in export business and remit foreign currency of at least the equivalent of 3,000,000 Baht last year. For every 3,000,000 Baht, an establishment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate but not more than 3 expatriates.
    • Working in an establishment, which employs 50 Thai employees. An establishment is allowed to hire 1 expatriate for every 50 Thai employees but not more than 5 expatriates in total.
    • An expatriate who has an income and duty to pay personal income tax to the Revenue Department of equivalent or more than 18,000 Baht, or already paid personal income tax in the past year of equivalent or more than 18,000 Baht.

5. Conditions for Thai Immigration to consider work permit approval, renewal, and modification of employment descriptions:

    • If you are an expatriate working for a representative office conducting quality control, procurement, or marketing research.
    • If you work for investment consulting, administrative consulting, technical and technology, or periodical internal audit.
    • If you are a Tourism representative who brings in foreigners to travel in Thailand.
    • If you are employed under International financial institutions approved by the Bank of Thailand.
    • If you are in the temporary business of entertainment, religious, social welfare, cultural or sporting without intention to make profit and paying income tax to the government.
    • If you are working as a contractor on projects with any government bodies or state enterprises.
    • If you work using mostly local raw material as an essential component in the production process or work that can reduce the use of imported raw material.
    • If your work involves supporting export of Thai products.
    • If you are working to bring in new technology, which Thai people are not capable of, in order to distribute and transfer to Thai people.
    • If you work in the area where there is a shortage of Thai labor.
    • If you can provide certificate of residence in Thailand.
    • If you are married to a Thai citizen with a legalized marriage registration, publicly cohabiting as husband and wife, and with a legal profession.

6. What Siam Attorney can do for you:

At Siam Attorney, we have extensive experience in partnering with our clients to apply working permit to work and stay in Thailand legally. We are fully responsible on behalf of our client in preparation the application and dealing with the Ministry of Labor to process any kind of work permit. If you are an expat/foreign working in Thailand, a Thai Work Permit should be one of your most significant must-haves. As a matter of fact, it would be illegal to work in Thailand without your Work Permit. As an employer or employee, it would be best to be well-informed about the process of applying for and retaining a Work Permit.

The first thing you need to do is you will need to have a Non-Immigrant Visa before being able to apply for a Work Permit.


For Work Permit application guide and assistance please email us via or contact us through our numbers provided below.