Work Permit: Working with no Work Permit | Penalties

October 1st, 2010

Working without a work permit is not something someone should take lightly as the penalties applicable are quite harsh.

Penalties applicable to the Foreign Employee

A foreign citizen who:

-          is working without a work permit or

-          doing work other than that specified into the work permit

Is punishable by a fine of 5,000 THB + 3 months of imprisonment maximum

A foreign citizen which perform work which is reserved to Thai citizen only and for which foreigners may not optain a work permit may be sentenced:

-          to a fine of 2,000 up to 100,000 THB and a term of imprisonment of up to 100,000 THB.

However the foreign citizen charged with this offence and who agreed pleads guilty and voluntarily leaves Thailand within 30 days will be fined without a trial at 20,000 THB.

Note that since the enforcement of the new act Labor Officer have now the power to arrest foreign citizen working without a work permit.

Profession Reserved to Thais

There are 38 professions reserved to Thais as follows:

laboring, work in agriculture, animal breeding, forestry, fishing and farm supervision (excluding specialized skills for the branch, farm supervision or in the maritime fishing field), masonry, carpentry or other construction work, wood carving, driving of motor vehicles or non-motorized carriers (except piloting international airplanes), shop attendant and window salespeople, auctioneering, accountancy supervision, auditing or services in the accounting field (except occasional internal auditing), gem cutting or polishing, hair cutting, hair dressing or beautician work, hand weaving, mat weaving or fabrication of wares from reed, rattan, kenaf, straw or bamboo pulp, manual fibre paper making, lacquerware making, Thai musical instrument fabrication, nielloware fabrication v 17. goldsmith, silversmith, or other precious metalwork, bronzeware fabrication,Thai doll making, mattress or padded blanket fabrication, alms bowl fabrication,manual silk product fabrication, Buddha image fabrication,knife making,paper or cloth umbrella fabrication, shoemaking,hat making, brokerage or agency work (except international business), engineering work, civil engineering branch, which involves designing, drawing, calculation, organization, research, planning, testing, construction supervision or advisory work (except work requiring specialized skills),architectural work involving designing, drawing or estimating as well as construction supervision or advisory work, dressmaking, pottery or ceramics, manual cigarette rolling,tourist guide or tour organizing agency, hawking business,Thai character typesetting, clerical or secretarial work, legal or litigation service

Penalties Applicable to the Employer

Employers that hired foreign citizen without work permit are not subjected to imprisonment anymore but to a fine of 60,000 THB maximum (note: depending of the circumstances their might be one fine per director and one for the company).

At the end of the day the harsher consequence of working without a work permit is that one may depend of the circumstances end up on the infamous immigration black list. Therefore I would recommend you not to risk it.

About the Author:

The author Rene-Philippe DUBOUT is a lawyer since 1990 when he was admitted to Geneva bar (Switzerland). He practiced as a litigator there for 10 years until he moved to Thailand in 1999. In 2002 he founded with a group of Thai lawyers Rene Philippe & Partners Ltd a local law firm that specialized in Cross Borders Investments and Real Estate. He has been lecturing in several Thai Universities and a speaker to numerous conferences and seminars. He is the author of a must read book:”How to Purchase Real Estate Offshore Safely: The Case of Thailand”.


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