Updated by Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors’ licensed Attorneys in December 2010
Under Thai Law BE2522 foreigners are prohibited to engage in any of the following types of work in Thailand:
Work in agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishing excluding specialized work in each particular branch or farm supervision;
Bricklaying, carpentry or other construction works;
Driving a mechanically propelled carrier or driving a non-mechanically propelled vehicle, excluding international aircraft piloting;
Supervising, auditing or giving services in accounting excluding internal auditing on occasions;
Cutting or polishing jewelry;
Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment;
Cloth weaving by hand;
Weaving of mats or making products from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw or bamboo;
Making of Sa paper by hand;
Lacquer ware making;
Making of Thai musical instruments;
Making of products from gold, silver or gold-copper alloy;
Bronze ware making;
Making of Thai dolls;
Making of mattresses or quilt blankets;
Alms bowl casting;
Making of silk products by hand;
Casting of Buddha images;
Making of paper or cloth umbrellas;
Brokerage or agency excluding brokerage or agency in international trade business;
Engineering work in a civil engineering branch concerning designing and calculation, organization, research, planning, testing, construction supervision or advising excluding specialized work;
Architectural work concerning designing, drawing of plans, estimating, construction directing or advising;
Pottery or ceramic ware making;
Cigarette making by hand;
Guide or conducting sightseeing tours;
Typesetting of Thai characters by hand;
Drawing and twisting silk thread by hand;
Office or secretarial work;
Legal or lawsuit services.
(Source: Alien Occupational Control Division, Department of Employment Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.)
The official definition of “work” in Thailand is "to engage in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits" (Source: Thai Ministry of Labour). Punishments for those defying the law include fines, imprisonment, deportation and possible blacklisting thus preventing return to Thailand. Any employer ignoring this law can also be imprisoned and/or fined. It should be noted that the law does not simply define work as doing something in return for financial reward (thus volunteers in Thailand need proper Visas and Work Permits to even volunteer in Thailand without pay). All foreigners who get offered jobs in Thailand must still have the proper Visa and a valid Work Permit to be legally employed in Thailand. For the steps in getting your Work permit in Thailand see http://www.thaivisa.com/288.0.html .
These work limits do not apply to foreigners who have gained Thai citizenship or foreigners who are now Permanent Residents of Thailand (for info on Permanent Residency see http://www.thaivisa.com/300.0.html ).
Sunbelt Asia Legal advisors have been at the forefront of getting foreigners the proper Visas and Work Permits for their stay in Thailand. Thailand Visas and Work Permits are Sunbelt Asia’s specialty and our professional fees are among the lowest.
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