As a general rule, all Non-Thai nationals need to obtain a Work Permit and are not allowed to commence their employment in Thailand, before they obtain a valid Work Permit. However, the Foreign Working Act exempts Non-Thai nationals performing the following professions:
- Members of the diplomatic corps of foreign countries
- Members of consular missions of foreign countries
- Representatives of member countries and official of the United Nations and its bodies
- Personal servants coming to Thailand in order to exclusively work for the persons mentioned above
- Persons who perform duties in Thailand under an agreement between the government of Thailand and a foreign government or international organization
- Persons who enter Thailand for the performance of any duty benefiting education, culture, arts or sports
- Persons who are explicitly permitted by the Thai government to perform an official assignment
Besides the exemptions mentioned above, the Foreign Working Act foresees special treatment in the following cases:
Urgent and Essential Work
The Foreign Working Act allows short term exemptions from the requirement of holding a Work Permit, if the nature of the work is urgent and essential. Since the term urgent and essential is not specifically defined, the interpretation of what kind of work is urgent and essential is subject to administrative judgement. Non-Thai nationals, entering Thailand in accordance with the applicable immigration laws, are allowed to work for a period not longer than 15 days on takes of urgent and essential nature. The person seeking to perform such work might enter Thailand holding any kind of visa. However, before commencing work, a written notification using the foreseen form, signed by the person seeking to perform the urgent and essential work and by his employer, must be submitted and approved by the Director-General of the Labor Department.
Non-Thai nationals employed by a company which is promoted by the Board of Investment, might commence their work before their respective Work Permit has been issued. However, the application must be filed beforehand and the foreigner must be appointed for a position which has already been granted by the BOI.