While most foreigners may not begin working until the Work Permit is issued, the Foreign Employment Act provides some exemptions in the following cases:
1. Urgent and Essential Work
Foreigners who perform any urgent and essential work may enter in Thailand temporarily with any kind of visa, except a 15-day visa on arrival available at Thailand’s international airports or a 60-day tourist visa obtained from a Thai Embassy overseas, because both are granted with the stamp “Employment is prohibited”.
On June 2017, the Department of Employment has issued a Notification, prescribing the types of works which are necessary and urgent.
Under the Notification, if a foreigner will be engaging in any of the following works in Thailand where such work will be completed within 15 days, it will automatically be considered as a necessary and urgent work:
• Organizing meetings, trainings or seminars work
• Special academic lectures work
• Aviation management work
• Internal audits work from time to time
• Follow-up and solving of technical problems work;
• Product or goods quality inspection work
• Manufacturing process inspection or improvement work
• Machinery and electric generator equipment system inspection or repair work
• Machinery repair or installation work
• Electricity vehicle system technician work
• Aircraft or aircraft equipment technician work
• Machinery repair or machinery controller system consultancy work
• Machinery demonstration and testing work
• Filming motion pictures and still photography work
• Selecting recruitment persons for sending workers to work overseas
• Testing skills of technicians for sending them to work overseas
The foreigner engaging in one of the aforementioned types of work will receive an Urgent Duty Work Permit instead of a normal Work Permits. The temporary Work Permit does not require the company, as usually, to have a registered capital of at least 2 million Baht and employment of 4 Thai staff per one foreign staff.
This kind of Work Permit can be allowed once and can be renewed, upon the Registrar’s discretion, for a period of another 15 days. The application process for a temporary Work Permit should take only one working day (if the application is complete).
If the foreign who enters into Thailand to perform an urgent and necessary work fails to notify the Registrar, he will be subject to a fine of maximum 50,000 Baht.
2. Activities not requiring a WP-10
According to the Announcement of the Department of Employment dated 6 March 2015, the following activities are not considered as work anymore and therefore do not require a Work Permit:
• Attending a meeting, a conference or a seminar
• Attending an exhibition or a trade fair
• Attending a business trip or engaging in business negotiations
• Attending a special or academic lecture
• Attending a technical training or seminar
• Purchasing goods in a trade show
• Attending a Board of Directors meeting of one’s own company
However, activities such as sales calls, conducting conferences, and non-profit and charity work do require a Work Permit.
3. Investment promotion
This Work Permit exemption applies only to foreign nationals who are skilled workers, experts, or persons who enter the Kingdom of Thailand for the purpose of studying investment opportunities.
A foreigner willing to work under the Investment Promotion Act must submit an online application for a Work Permit (through the so-called eExpert system) within 30 days after obtaining the notification from the BOI that the position has been approved. While the application is being processed, he may engage in authorized work.
4. Authorized representatives of a foreign juristic person holding a FBL
Starting with March 2018, a special Work Permit exemption was introduced. This exemption applies only to foreigners that are the authorized representatives of a foreign juristic person that has received a Foreign Business License according to the Foreign Business Act.
A foreigner who is registered as the responsible manager of a Branch Office, Representative Office, or Regional Office that has obtained a Foreign Business License under the Foreign Business Act is not longer required to obtain a Work Permit.
Please note that this special exemption is not applying to foreigners working for these above-mentioned foreign juristic persons whose job title is Assistant Manager, Vice President or any other position.