n 28th of March 2018, the Thai government passed a new law, the Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners B.E. 2561 (Decree No. 2), to amend the Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners B.E. 2560 (Decree No. 1). This law brings important changes to the rules and regulations affecting foreign workers and their employers.
The new provisions are aimed to facilitate a better control and monitoring of the process for bringing foreign workers into Thailand, as well as to adjust the penalties imposed by the previous Royal Decree to those who breach the work permit requirements.
Some of the most significant changes are, as follows:
- New definition of “work”
Under the amended Emergency Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners B.E. 2561, work is defined as “performing any profession, whether or not there is an employer, but excluding business operation of a foreign business license’s holder under the Foreign Business Act.”
- New Work Permit exemptions
Foreigners who perform the following activities in Thailand are no longer subject to the requirement to obtain a work permit:
- Foreigners who occasionally enter Thailand to organize or attend a conference, meeting, academic lecture, training session, workshop, seminar, tour, art or cultural exhibition, sport competition, or any other activities as prescribed by the Cabinet
- Foreigners who enter Thailand to engage in a business or investment, or who are specialists, experts, or have skills which will be beneficial to Thailand’s economic development
- Foreigners who are authorized managers of a foreign juristic person (such as Branch Office, Representative Office, or Regional Office) that has received a foreign business operation license according to the Foreign Business Act
- Extension of Urgent Duty Work Permit
Foreigners who enter Thailand to perform a necessary and urgent work must notify the registrar of the Employment Department and complete the work within 15 days.
If such work cannot be completed within that time, the foreign workers may now request for an extension of up to 15 days by notifying the registrar before the end of the initial 15 days’ period. Failure to notify the registrar may subject the foreigners to a maximum fine of THB 50,000.
- Electronic Work Permit applications
A work permit application for a foreigner living outside Thailand can be submitted and the fees can be paid through the electronic system.
- New reporting obligations
The employer shall notify the registrar of the Employment Department of the name, nationality and nature of work of a foreign employeewithin 15 days from the date of employment, and also within 15 days after the termination of employment together with the reasons of termination.
The foreign employee must also notify the registrar of his employer’s name, place of work and nature of work within 15 days from the date of employment, as well as every time he changes the employer.
Failure to comply with the reporting obligations may subject the employer/ employee to a maximum fine of THB 20,000.
- Online notification for change of work details and location
The change or addition of work details (job title, job description) and work location in relation to the current employer will no longer require an approval from the registrar, but only a post-change/ addition notification, provided that such change or addition is permitted under the Emergency Decree.
The work permit holder can do any type of work which is not on the list of 39 professions that are prohibited to foreigner mentioned under the Aliens’ Employment Act.
Companies having foreign employees who work in multiple locations are no longer required to have the work locations updated on their work permit booklets, provided that such locations are the location where the employer is registered with the Ministry of Commerce or is legally obliged to work (based on a Service Agreement). However, if there is a change of work location in the company registration document, the addition or update of work location on the work permit is still required.
In addition, the Government fees for the change or additions of job title, job description, work conditions and location, are waived.
- Presentation of Work Permit
Foreign workers are required to present their work permit booklet to the officer or registrar upon request within an appropriate timeframe. Failure to do so will result in a fine of not more than THB 5,000.
In order to avoid penalties, employers should be aware of their responsibilities, review their internal procedures and ensure that their foreign workers are in compliance with the new work permit regulations.
We hope that the information provided was helpful to you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will make sure that your question will be brought to the right person’s attention and we will deliver a prompt response.
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