• Employment Department Changes Work Authorization Rules for Certain Categories of Foreign Employees
  • March 20, 2018
  • The situation

    Effective immediately, Thailand’s Employment Department has implemented changes that limit the Work Permit application filing period to 15 calendar days and require a non-immigrant “B” visa to be held continuously throughout the validity of the work permit, in certain cases. These rules may still be amended or reversed.

    A closer look

    The following changes take effect immediately:

    • Limited filing period. Foreign nationals entering the country to work must submit their Work Permit applications within 15 calendar days of their entry on non-immigrant “B” visas.
      • Previous rule. Prior to this, foreign nationals were allowed to complete the Work Permit application process within 90 days of arrival or throughout the validity of their non-immigrant “B” visa.
      • Impact. Applicants who fail to submit the application within 15 days of entry on a non-immigrant “B” visa may continue to apply for work authorization but will be issued a work permit with limited duration, valid only for the remaining period of their non-immigrant “B” visa. Upon expiry, they will need to exit the country and reapply for a new work permit.
    • Maintained validity of non-immigrant “B” visa. In cases where a work permit holder is concurrently holding a non-immigrant “B” visa, as opposed to a long-term visa, foreign nationals must now continuously maintain the validity of the non-immigrant “B” visa throughout the duration of the Work Permit. A non-immigrant “B” visa has a maximum validity of 90 days and would need to be renewed continuously without any break or interruption.
      • Timing. Foreign nationals should be aware that timing is extremely important for the renewal of the “B” visa. Gaps in between the expiry of one visa and the acquisition of a new one must now be avoided.
      • Impact of non-compliance. Failure to continuously maintain a non-immigrant “B” visa without interruption will prevent the renewal of the work permit. Work permit holders will have to cancel their current work permits and reapply for a new one.

    Limited applicability

    Only foreign employees who file their Work Permit applications directly with the Employment Department in Thailand are affected. Foreign employees who are eligible to file applications with the One Stop Service Center are not affected by these changes.

    Looking ahead

    Foreign nationals and their employers who are affected by these changes should contact their immigration professional immediately to plan ahead and prevent any future complications.