• New Labor Law Sets Higher Penalties for Employer Noncompliance
  • August 3, 2017
  • Effective January 1, 2018, a new labor law referred to as the Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners will impose significantly higher penalties for employers that employ unauthorized foreign nationals or that allow authorized Work Permit holders to work in prohibited professions or occupations or to carry out work other than what is authorized by the Work Permit.

    In an announcement on June 23, 2017, the Director-General of the Department of Employment stated that the new Decree is intended to ensure that Thailand is on a par with international labor standards and to reduce human trafficking by better regulating migrant labor.

    The new regulations will supersede existing provisions with much smaller fines and highlight a new focus by the Thai government to ensure employer compliance with labor laws. Provisions of the previous laws that do not conflict with the new Decree remain valid.

    Increased Penalties for Noncompliance

    The new law includes the following changes:

    • Employing a foreign national without proper work authorization will carry a penalty of THB 400,000 to THB 800,000 (approximately USD 11,770 to USD 23,540) per foreign national compared with the previous penalty of THB 10,000 to THB 100,000 (approximately USD 294 to USD 2,940) per foreign national.
    • Employers of Work Permit holders that allow foreign nationals in their employ to engage in any prohibited profession or occupation will be subject to a penalty of THB 400,000 to THB 800,000 (approximately USD 11,770 to USD 23,540) per foreign national.
    • Employers of Work Permit holders that allow foreign nationals in their employ to engage in any work other than what was authorized by the Work Permit will be subject to a penalty of THB 400,000 (approximately USD 11,800) per foreign national.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Employers should raise their vigilance level in Thailand. Employers of foreign nationals should examine their practices and ensure they have procedures in place to enforce compliance with the new law. Foreign nationals must ensure that their work activities comply with what was authorized in their Work Permit.