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Working Legally In Thailand - Immigration And Labour Departments Speaks Out

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WORKING LEGALLY IN THAILAND

Working legally in Thailand

Seminar from Helping Hands radio program

n6-working%201.jpg

Rhuchuchai Pothai, 2nd left, and Witthaya Singmanee, 2nd right,

answered questions on the live radio broadcast at the Imperial

Mae Ping in Chiang Mai on Wednesday, June 7, 2011.

The Helping Hands radio program from NBT radio station 93.25 was established in 2001 and started English language programming for the expat residents of Chiang Mai. In conjunction with this idea of offering local expats as much knowledge and information as possible, they organized a seminar with head of the Work Permit Department at the Labor Office Rhuchuchai Potha and Immigration Investigative Division officer Witthaya Singmanee at the Imperial Mae Ping on Wednesday, June 7, 2011.

The evening saw over 60 people attend dinner and a further 40 fill the room to hear their questions answered. Since it was a live broadcast on the radio, host Wouter Van der Stichel read the submitted questions aloud in English which were then translated into Thai by the Thai announcer.

Some time was spent offering up descriptions of the duties of their offices and the legal definition of work that is used by the Labor Department; "to engage in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits". Additionally Khun Rhuchuchai pointed out that beyond the application, is the intent. If it’s clear there is intent to work with a goal to profit from that labor, either on the part of the foreigner or of the business, then that is also illegal.

A key question that was asked was in regard to performers who wish to perform a one off show for charity or otherwise. He said there is a temporary permit to work for not longer than 15 days, free from his office and considered on a case by case basis. But, he pointed out several times, you must apply for it. He reiterated that he supports those who wish to perform legally, and will be happy to approve such applications for these kinds of shows once applied for and considered on a case by case basis. Anything over the 15 days requires a legal work permit, which requires a sponsoring business or charitable organization.

Volunteer work, he pointed out, requires a work permit, however, many charities are looking for volunteers and are willing to sponsor people and he suggested that he could offer guidance to those interested in such a work permit. For those who wish to work at multiple organizations, he pointed out that that initial work permit is required but it is possible to add an employer or job to the work permit once its issued. This would also apply to musicians who wish to play at different venues.

He noted that the office offers different periods of work permits, from a year for 3,100 baht to 6 months for 1,550 baht and 1-3 months for 750 baht.

He added that there is no “freelance” work permit, that one must be sponsored by a company. However, when asked about specialists offering advice for overseas clients in overseas markets, he felt that so long as they did not offer that advice to Thais or foreigners in Thailand that would be acceptable.

A company started by a Thai person and employing and paying social security for 4 Thai employees can offer one work permit for a foreigner without needing the required 2 million baht in registered capital.

The Immigration officer, Khun Witthaya, addressed the issues of overcrowding at the Immigration office noting that they have requested budget for expansion but the money must come from the Ministry of Interior in order to expand the premises, or parking. He added, he knows there are problems and that queueing can be very long and recommended to people that until any funds are granted, they avoid visiting after a holiday. He pointed out that the ratio of officers to foreigners resident in Chiang Mai is quite high and that the officers work as fast as they can but, especially on busy days, they reach capacity and go no further. When asked if there were plans to allow a fast track service for longer term resident foreigners, Khun Witthaya said that he had asked the main office this question and the answer was a clear “no”, there was going to be no fast track option.

Retirement visas were introduced and he reiterated the qualifications; must be age 50 or over, and must have either 800,000 baht in a Thai bank or a pension of 65,000 baht a month that must be certified by the Consulate or a combination of both. He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application. Permanent residency was introduced and while he said applications are taken usually once a year, he is not sure when the next announcement will be. He said a non-immigrant visa for 3 years is necessary, and either working in Thailand, having invested in Thailand or married to a Thai national will offer eligibility to apply for permanent residency. Khun Rhuchuchai pointed out that if you obtain PR you must still get a work permit to work.

The issue of musicians being arrested for performing at jam sessions was discussed and it was said that if a complaint is made then they must investigate. Venues that offer regularly and publicly advertised shows are clearly obtaining a benefit from the performance and that this shows the intent to profit from it. Khun Rhuchuchai said, there is no problem with a spontaneous jam session, and a work permit is not needed for that. But at a regularly advertised show, the intent is clearly to make a profit from performers. He added they didn’t just swoop in and arrest people but investigated the venues and visited them regularly to ensure that this was a regular occurrence.

He reiterated to performers that for one off shows a free, 15 day permission can be applied for at the Work Permit office. He said, you must request it properly that you perform and he has no problem granting permission for that.

As one of the organizers pointed out later, while not all questions were answered as comprehensively as some may have hoped, the officers did seem to make an honest attempt to answer all questions to the best of their knowledge and ability.

n6-working%202.jpg

DJ’s, Helping Hands organizers and executives and

government officials joined the two officers for a group

photo before the live broadcast.

[chiangmaimail]2011-06-08[/chiangmaimail]

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He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application.

The money must be in account 2 months for first application per police order 777/2551. Perhaps the word intended was 'after' rather than 'on'?

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He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application.

The money must be in account 2 months for first application per police order 777/2551. Perhaps the word intended was 'after' rather than 'on'?

And only if using the lump sum in the bank method.

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However, when asked about specialists offering advice for overseas clients in overseas markets, he felt that so long as they did not offer that advice to Thais or foreigners in Thailand that would be acceptable.

OK , so that would mean people working in Bolier Rooms where excempt from having a work permit then? , as when ever they get arrested, it is always for not having a work permit ...

or ... for people working in SEO targeting companies abroad who employee foreign people? ..... the list could go on.

But from what i make out from this statement, as long as you deal with clients OUTSIDE of Thailand, and not to foreigners or Thai's in Thailand, you can work without a work permit?

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He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application.

The money must be in account 2 months for first application per police order 777/2551. Perhaps the word intended was 'after' rather than 'on'?

' Married to a Thai national will offer eligibility to apply for permanent residency'. I am reading this correctly. You can apply for PR if married to a Thai, I thought that you had to be paying Thai tax to do this?

Rick

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The meeting was let down my the translation from English to Thai which made it impoosible for the speakers to answer some questions as what he said in Thai didnt make sense!

Its good for people to know about the 15day permit, however you cant just walk in and request one, you need a large amount of paperwork, and they are usually unlikely to give you one. They will certaintly not issue you with 7 in a year.

Good event though, well done for organising it.

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I wish I had known about this in advance, as I would love someone to explain the difference between karaoke performance and 'jamming' musicians. Or are they now saying every Thai Karaoke place is illegal for non Thais to use ??

He added that there is no “freelance” work permit, that one must be sponsored by a company. However, when asked about specialists offering advice for overseas clients in overseas markets, he felt that so long as they did not offer that advice to Thais or foreigners in Thailand that would be acceptable.

Someone should perhaps tell "Noppadol Ployudee, Phuket Provincial Employment Office chief" who recently clearly stated "In general, foreigners who want to work without forming their own company can apply for a freelance work permit, but I cannot say exactly which types of work will be approved and which will not.

However, just for example, artists, artisans, singers, musicians, technicians, reporters, among others, are some of the types of workers who are usually allowed to work on a self-employed basis"

http://www.phuketgazette.net/issuesanswers/details.asp?id=1200

I remember a farang getting a freelance media / writers work permit too.

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"Working legally in Thailand", that means working without breaking the laws and without committing crimes.....how many police officers were attending the meeting again? :D

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' Married to a Thai national will offer eligibility to apply for permanent residency'.
Tax payment is one of the things considered in the approval process so in most cases such payment would be an important consideration for PR application.

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He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application.

The money must be in account 2 months for first application per police order 777/2551. Perhaps the word intended was 'after' rather than 'on'?

' Married to a Thai national will offer eligibility to apply for permanent residency'. I am reading this correctly. You can apply for PR if married to a Thai, I thought that you had to be paying Thai tax to do this?

Rick

You can even easier apply for Thai nationality, directly without getting PR first.

Stiil, as has been said, paying your taxes is an important factor also. Just being married to a Thai is not enough.

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Could somebody tell me why the 800,000 baht required to be in a Thai Bank Account for the purposes of securing a Retirement Visa could not be equally achieved by significant sums invested in the SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand)?

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However, when asked about specialists offering advice for overseas clients in overseas markets, he felt that so long as they did not offer that advice to Thais or foreigners in Thailand that would be acceptable.

OK , so that would mean people working in Bolier Rooms where excempt from having a work permit then? , as when ever they get arrested, it is always for not having a work permit ...

or ... for people working in SEO targeting companies abroad who employee foreign people? ..... the list could go on.

But from what i make out from this statement, as long as you deal with clients OUTSIDE of Thailand, and not to foreigners or Thai's in Thailand, you can work without a work permit?

I think what you are infering is the result of a mangled translation! The reference was probably to work done outside of Thailand, not involving anything to do with Thailand (as in: you live here, but go to country XY for a month to take care of your business there). Because: the way laws are formulated, if you as much as utter the intent of driving a nail into a wall for a handicapped friend, you're already in violation-land...!!!

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He added that the money must be in the bank for a minimum of 3 months on the first application.

The money must be in account 2 months for first application per police order 777/2551. Perhaps the word intended was 'after' rather than 'on'?

' Married to a Thai national will offer eligibility to apply for permanent residency'. I am reading this correctly. You can apply for PR if married to a Thai, I thought that you had to be paying Thai tax to do this?

Rick

I am married for over 7 years to a Thai and been living here we have our own house of course in my Thai wife name and renew my yearly non immigration O retirement visa. What do I do to get 3 year resident visa?

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How about this case: An artist (painter/photographer) or an author, who likes to spend time in Thailand, is content with a 30 day stamp in his/her passport on arrival, and tourist visa from neighbouring countries, ... sits in his private space to draw, paint or write, .. has no interest in having clients in Thailand, never shows his work in Thailand, because all the income is generated from business outside Thailand, > publisher in the UK > galleries in Europe etc Stays out of everyone's way, ships his work out via courier, in his luggage or in the case of digital files, via the WWW .. does not take a single Baht from anyone in Thailand, nor competes with any local "wanna be" artists, so jealousy is nothing to contend with ....

If that were you, would you even worry about a permit?

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BANGKOK 17 August 2018 04:15
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