The Alien Occupation Law, adopted in 1973, requires all aliens working in Thailand to obtain a Work Permit prior to starting work in the Kingdom. An updated version of the Act, adopted in 1978, describes the procedures for issuance and maintenance of Work Permits and lists certain occupations from which aliens may be excluded.
The Act grants exemptions from the Work Permit requirement to persons occupying the following professions:
B. Special Cases
While most aliens must apply for a Work Permit, and may not begin work until the Permit is issued, the Alien Employment Act does provide special treatment in the following circumstances:
Urgent and Essential Work:
from Work Permit requirements is granted to aliens who
enter the Kingdom temporarily, but in accordance with
the immigration law, to perform any work of any "urgent
and essential nature" for a period not exceeding 15
days. However, such aliens may engage in work only after
a written notification on a prescribed form, signed by
the alien and endorsed by his employer, has been
submitted to and accepted by the Director-General or his
Urgent and Essential Work:
Exemption from Work Permit requirements is granted to aliens who enter the Kingdom temporarily, but in accordance with the immigration law, to perform any work of any "urgent and essential nature" for a period not exceeding 15 days. However, such aliens may engage in work only after a written notification on a prescribed form, signed by the alien and endorsed by his employer, has been submitted to and accepted by the Director-General or his designee.
Aliens entitled to this treatment may enter Thailand with any kind of visa, including a transit visa. The term "urgent and essential work" is not explicitly defined and consequently, the issuance of this sort of exemption is a matter of administrative discretion.
An alien seeking permission to work in the Kingdom under the Investment Promotion Law must submit his application for a Work Permit within 30 days of notification by the Board of Investment that his position has been approved. An alien in this category may engage in authorized work while the application is being processed.
The Act requires that any alien working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. Section 8 of the Act stipulates that while a prospective employer may file an application on the alien's behalf in advance of his commencing work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the alien has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.
The Permit initially will be valid only for the period of the alien's Non-Immigrant visa permits him to remain in Thailand under the Immigration law. The Work Permit will be subject to renewal in accordance with the renewed or extended visa. For aliens who are holders of a Thai Certificate of Residence, the Work Permit can be renewed annually. The Labor Department, subject to subsequent renewal, will in principle grant an initial duration of one year for the Work Permit. A Work Permit must be renewed before its expiry date or it will automatically lapse.
Applicants for Work Permits may not enter the Kingdom as tourists or transients.
D. Required Documentation
The following documents must be attached to a Work Permit application:
E. Permitted Activities
Thai law prohibits employers from allowing aliens to perform any function other than that described in the alien's Work Permit. Employers must report changes in employment, transfers and termination of all aliens in their organization within 15 days of any such action. In cases of dismissal, aliens must return their Work Permit to labor authorities in Bangkok at the Alien Occupation division or, if they are in a provincial area, to the province's Department of Employment. Failure to do so will result in a fine of up to 1,000 Baht.
Any alien who engages in work without a Work Permit, or in violation of the conditions of his work as stipulated in his Permit, may be punished by a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or a fine of up to 5,000 Baht, or both. Aliens engaged in work prohibited to them by Royal Decree (see below) shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine ranging from 2,000 to 100,000 Baht, or both.
An employer who permits an alien to work in his organization without a Work Permit or to act in violation of the nature of the work specified in the Permit may be punished with imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined up to 60,000 Baht or both.
Permit holders must obtain prior permission to change their occupation and/or place of work. Change of employer location or the residential address of the permit holder must be properly endorsed in the Work Permit by the labor authorities. The Alien Employment Act does not prevent an alien from engaging in work in more than one field or for more than one employer.
A Royal Decree in 1973 listed 39 occupations and professions that were then
prohibited to aliens. This list has been amended on several occasions by
subsequent Royal Decrees, the latest one in 1979.
A Royal Decree in 1973 listed 39 occupations and professions that were then prohibited to aliens. This list has been amended on several occasions by subsequent Royal Decrees, the latest one in 1979.
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