Problems if I don’t have the correct work permit in Thailand?

Work permits Thailand

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If you do not have the correct work permit, or perhaps you don’t have any work permit at all you could face some serious consequences here in Thailand. The Immigration Department are clamping down more and more on those individuals that break the rules relating to work permits and visas.  The penalties start with fines of THB2000 going up to THB100,000.  This can also be accompanied by prison terms of up to 5 years.

Work permits in Thailand are very specific and limit the holder to certain role even within the same company.  Another general rule is that the work permit, unless specifically mentioned, only allows the holder to work in one province.  For instance, if your work permit was issued in Bangkok you would not be permitted to work in Chonburi and vice versa.  In the past that has led to serious problems for those falling foul of the law leading not only to a hefty fine, but also the work permit being revoked which naturally causes further problems.  When reapplying for the work permit, the authorities’ take a very dim view is taken on applicants who have had the work permit cancelled, so having this reinstated may not be an easy task.

Work permits can have more than one company attached to them.  For instance a real estate company in Chiang Mai and also a different real estate company in Pattaya (It is not necessary for the 2 to be in the same industry although this is often more common).  It should be recognised that one of these companies will be the primary owner of the work permit and if they choose to cancel it, it will be cancelled in its entirety regardless of your position with the other company unless the other company then takes over the primary ownership.

Not holding a work permit and continuing to work is viewed very badly in Thailand and in the majority of cases will lead to being deported from the Kingdom and not welcomed back – usually for 5 years.  Obviously the consequences are far reaching for those people who have set up home here or you have a family.  Normally the deportation will come after a few nights stay in one of the local prisons or police stations which I think most will agree, is best avoided!

Stories of work permit problems are common place around the bars in Thailand.  Most people seem to know someone who has been affected by work permit issues so it is definitely a common problem.  Regardless of your feelings about the law – whether it is right or wrong really carries little weight as the laws are quite clear.  The only sensible advice that anyone should give you is “don’t work unless you have the correct work permit.”

All too often people ignore this advice.

As with nearly everything prevention is better than cure.  It is always advisable to seek advice from an expert before embarking on your chosen career path that if done incorrectly could land you in serious trouble.  Knowing what you can and can’t do before your start will hopefully stand you in good stead.