Thailand lifts restrictions on foreign work permit holders

Thailand's work permits now allow the holders to change employers within Thailand, rather than being tied to their original role and organisation.
By: | September 3, 2018

Foreigners holding Thai work permits can now legally work in any field for any employer in Thailand, instead of being limited to restrictions described in their permits.

This was confirmed by Kattiya Pandech, chief of the Phuket Provincial Employment Office, as he affirmed that the new provisions issued by Royal Decree are now in effect.

Previously, foreign workers were only allowed to work in Thailand based on the type of work, location, and employer listed on the work permit.

The Royal Decree has lifted the restrictions on the type of work that foreign work permit holders in Thailand can perform without the need for these workers to inform authorities of any changes.

As long as the work is not specifically prohibited to all foreigners, Kattiya said work permit holders can engage in any occupation anywhere in the country.

There are 28 occupations in Thailand that are prohibited to foreigners since 1979, including tour guiding and legal counselling.

It is recommended that foreign workers and employers continue to register changes with the Thai Employment Office, so as to keep things on record and avoid potential misunderstandings.

Some 16,000 physical work permits issued between March and July of this year still list  the previous restrictions, but Kattiya highlighted that Note 2, specifically, can be disregarded.

Note 2 says that “a work permit holder shall engage and perform works only in the particular category of work with the specific employer, permitted locality and conditions. Any work permit holder who violates or fails to comply with the foregoing shall be liable to a fine of not exceeding 400,000 Baht.”