Thailand has updated its rules regarding work permits for foreigners, among the most significant of the changes is a reduction in penalties for those found working without a work permit.
According to law firm Duensing Kippen,foreigners found working without a work permit in Thailand no longer face the prospect of being sent to jail.
Duensing Kippen which confirmed the changes on Thursday said that previously the penalties for working without a work permit under Decree No.1 (Section 101) was an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or a fine ranging from THB 2,000 to THB 100,000, or both.
But now under Decree No. 2 (Section 101) the imprisonment penalty has been repealed and the fine for working without a work permit reduced to between THB 5,000 to THB 50,000.
The penalties for employing foreigners without a work permit have also been reduced.
Previously, under Decree No. 1 (Section 102) the fine ranged from from THB 400,000 to THB 800,000 for each employee employed without a work permit.
But now it has been reduced under Decree No. 2 (Section 102) to a fine ranging from THB 10,000 to THB 100,000 for each employee employed.
There are also further significant changes to the requirement for foreigners who attend meetings, seminars or sports competitions in Thailand.
Previously, foreigners attending a meeting or seminar in Thailand were required to have a work permit.
The reality was that most didn’t and the rule was rarely enforced.
But this requirement has now been waived altogether, meaning that foreigners can engage in some business activities, such as attending meetings and seminars, without needing a work permit.
The changes were introduced on March 27, 2018, when the Emergency Decree on Non-Thais’ Working Management (No.2) (2018) (“Decree No. 2”) was issued. Decree No. 2 amended Decree No. 1.
According to Decree No 2:
A. The following non-Thais can carry out certain activities in Thailand without a work permit:
(1) a non-Thai who comes to Thailand on a short-term periodic basis to: hold or to attend a meeting, lecture, seminar, training, exhibition of art or culture, or sports competition; provide an opinion; inspect work of others; or, any other activities, as prescribed by the Council of Ministers.
(2) a non-Thai who enters into Thailand to: operate a business; make an investment; or who has knowledge, ability, or skills that are considered beneficial to the development of the country;
(3) a non-Thai legal representative (e.g. director) of an alien juristic person that is licensed to operate business under the Foreign Business Act (1999);
Decree No 2 also reveals that work permit applications can now be filed electronically.
It should be noted that for all other instances foreigners still need a work permit to work legally in Thailand.
You can find a more detailed explanation of the changes to the rules on work permits on the Duensing Kippen website.