Business Advisory firm focusing on company setup in Thailand, including BOI application, Thai limited, Immigration and labor consulting.

Basis Principles

Basis Principles of Work Permit

In order to be able to issue Work Permits to Non-Thai nationals, Thai companies need to fulfill some basic principles. These regulations apply to all forms of companies, independent of which company type is applying. However, some of these rules are relaxed for companies which have obtained an investment promotion certificate under the Board of Investment. For how to obtain such a certificate, please refer to our Investing in Thailand section.

In general, every Thai company that wants to employ Non-Thai staff, needs to have a minimum amount of capital, needs to maintain a certain ratio of Thai to Non-Thai staff, needs to pay a minimum salary to Non-Thai staff and needs to have its paper work up-to-date and in order.

Minimum Capital Requirements

Thai companies that want to employ Non-Thai nationals need to have a minimum registered capital of not less than 2,000,000 Thai Bath per foreign employee for whom a Work Permit is needed. For example, if a Thai company wants to employ two Non-Thai nationals, the minimum registered capital needs to be 4,000,000 Thai Bath. Please note that in the case of standard Thai companies, the capital needs to be fully paid up.

There are two deviations from this requirement. First, if the Non-Thai national is married to a Thai national, the amount of capital the Thai company needs to have is reduced to 1,000,000 Thai Bath for this specific Work Permit. The requirements for other Work Permits do not change. Second, if the company is promoted by the Board of Investment, there is no need of minimum capital requirement for employing foreign staff.

Ratio of Thai to Non-Thai Employees

Thai companies wanting to employ Non-Thai nationals need to maintain a certain ratio of Thai to Non-Thai employees. The minimum number of Thai employees per Work Permit is four. For example, if a Thai company wants to employ two Non-Thai nationals, the minimum number of Thai employees it needs to employ is eight. The number of Thai employees a company employs is determined by the number of Thai employees listed in the Social Security Fund the company is contributing to.

Once again, there are two important exemptions form this rule. First, for Thai companies which have been incorporated less than one year prior to applying for a work permit, the minimum number of  Thai employees per work permit requested is reduced to two. Second, companies promoted by the Board of Investment are exempted from the requirement of maintaining a minimum ratio of Thai to Non-Thai employees per work permit.

Minimum Salary Requirements

Even though the Foreign Working Act does not foresee any minimum wages Non-Thai employees need to earn, the Immigration Department has determined a minimum wage list which is applied if foreign employees seek to extend their visa. The minimum wages are stated in gross wages per month and differ depending on the nationality the employee is holding:

  • Australia, Canada, Japan, United States of America, Western Europe: 50,000 Thai Bath per month
  • Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan: 45,000 Thai Bath per month
  • Asien Countries (except Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam), Eastern European Countries, Russia, South Africa, South and Central American Countries: 35,000 Thai Bath per month
  • African Countries (except South Africa), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam: 25,000 Thai Bath per month

Companies promoted by the Board of Investment are exempted from paying minimum salaries to their Non-Thai employees.

Documentation

Thai companies wanting to obtain work permits for their Non-Thai staff need to have their paper work up-to-date and in order. The respective authorities especially want to see proof that the company is paying Value Added Tax, is withholding Tax and contributing orderly to the Social Security Fund for its employees.

Non-Compliance and Fines

Working without Work Permit is a serious crime. Both, the employee and the employer will be prosecuted and might face civil and penal consequences. Any Non-Thai national engaging in unauthorized work (i.e. working without work permit) faces imprisonment of up to five years and fines up to 100,000 Thai Bath with a minimum fine of 2,000 Thai Bath. An employer employing foreigners without Work Permit will be subject to fines not exceeding 100,000 Thai Bath, with a minimum fine of 10,000 Thai Bath.Furthermore, the Non-Thai national must follow the conditions of work as outlined in his Work Permit. In case of non-compliance he may face fines up to 20,000 Thai Bath. If an employer allows his Non-Thai employee to act in violation of the conditions of work as outlines in the foreigner’s Work Permit, he may be fined up to 10,000 Thai Bath.

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