UPDATE LIVING IN THAILAND: MILITARY RULE, VISAS & WORK PERMITS

October 7, 2014 No Comments by adrienne

 

A Family in Motion

Living in Thailand | Moving to Thailand

LIVING IN THAILAND: UPDATES ON CURRENT EVENTS AND MORE

Military coup Thailand:

It’s been a few months since our last blog post, which was published only a couple days prior to the announcement of the military coup.  In the following months, a lot has seemed to change within the government, while at the same time, daily life has remained relatively unchanged for the majority of people living here, both Thai and foreigners.  The changes that have occurred seem to be mostly positive ones so far, though only time will tell how far reaching and penetrating they will be.  Follow through will be key, as Thailand is notorious for lip-service with little to no teeth behind the grandiose promises.  The first line of business with the coup was to sack the existing government and to “root out corruption”.  They next installed the general as prime minister, which alarmed many foreign governments, but in reality has not bothered most Thais in the least (if it did bother them, they would not be speaking up in protest, I suppose).

In the real estate and construction industry, we have heard that the military government is enforcing tighter regulations on the import, fabrication and sale of wood, a highly protected and controversial commodity here in Thailand.  In fact, did you know that smuggling illegal Teak wood in and out of Thailand holds the death penalty?  One of our friends has an acquaintance who is a high ranking police officer, and this officer told our friend that he could help him get out of any pinch, but that if our friend was caught with either drugs or wood, don’t bother calling him—he couldn’t help.  We have had contractors tell us that it is very difficult to obtain the wood for doors and windows thanks to the new, stricter regulations currently in place.  However, there has been significant abuse of forests in Thailand in the past, which prompted the strict regulations in the first place; it might not be such a bad thing to protect an important natural resource here, even if it means a few more headaches in the meantime.

Other examples where the military government has stepped in to improve Thailand are the beach areas throughout the country, especially in Pattaya and Cha Am/Hua Hin.  The military is sending numerous hawkers, street vendors and restaurant and bar owners who have illegally set up shop directly on the beach packing, in an attempt to clean up the beaches and beautify the area.  We also heard that another reason the government is shutting down these beachfront restaurant shacks is that they were overcharging tourists and unsuspecting patrons.  The attempt is to regulate the costs of basic, standard Thai dishes and to give a favourable impression of Thailand and its food to foreign tourists.  I have to admit that the result is pleasing to the eye, as the beaches around our home are clean, quiet and peaceful.

There is also talk of the new government overhauling the education system and regulating more thoroughly the schools throughout the country to ensure a proper curriculum is followed.  I assume the attempt is to improve the municipal schools throughout Thailand, especially the more remote ones that probably don’t have much intervention or oversight.

None of these events has seemed to negatively impact tourism nor the real estate market yet, but it is still low season now.  We shall see what happens within the next few months, but we remain positive on Thailand’s outlook.

Living in Thailand | A Family in Motion

Living in Thailand | A Family in Motion

Living in Thailand: Visas and immigration

A big question for many expatriates living in Thailand is the issue of visas.  Recently, the new government abolished the practice of back-to-back border crossings in order to renew 30 day tourist visas.  The government claimed that many expats were using this method of “border hopping” to extend their stays in the country without securing proper visas via the Royal Thai embassies prior to their arrival.  There was much hysteria, panic and misinformation prior to the August enforcement of the new regulation.

In reality, it has not affected legitimate tourists, nor expats who have secured proper visas for extended stays.  The effort was to discourage foreigners who have been living and working illegally or without proper permission in Thailand.  And to be clear, the new regulation only applies to those who enter Thailand via land border crossings; those entering Thailand via air travel are still entitled to a renewal of their 30 day tourist visa upon arrival.

There is also a new visa being offered in Thailand: a 5 year, multiple entry “PE Visa”, perfect for expats who are either under 50 years old, not married to a Thai citizen, or not working in Thailand.  There are plenty of people who want to live in Thailand, but don’t fit the requirements of being of retirement age, married to a Thai or employed by a company located in Thailand.  This is a hassle-free way for those people to live here.  I know many young families who want to live here because of the fantastic lifestyle Thailand has to offer. These families either have the ability to work from home or can commute on a 30 day on-30 day off schedule, and they have to jump through considerable hoops in order to stay here legally.

The price of the visa is approximately 500,000 THB, which is about 100,000 THB or just over $3,000 per year for a visa.  If you think about it this way: the visa is a far cheaper alternative to leaving the country via air travel every 90 days, especially now that the border runs via land travel have been banned.  For more information, please visit thailandelite.com

Living In Thailand | A Family in Motion

Living In Thailand | A Family in Motion

Living in Thailand: Obtaining A Work Permit

Many people ask us how to obtain a work permit here in Thailand.  It is surprisingly easy, if you are able to find a sponsor (employer) to hire you.  If you find it difficult to find employment, you can always start your own company.  This is what is required: if you form a Thai company (where up to 49% of the company can be foreign owned, at least 51% must be Thai owned), the company must have at least 2 Million Thai Baht registered capital in the company to sponsor a foreign employee.  If the foreign employee is married to a Thai citizen, the registered capital may only be 1 Million Thai Baht.  This company is allowed a maximum of 10 work permits.

In order to apply for a work permit, the foreign employee must first possess a valid non-immigrant visa, ideally acquired prior to arrival in Thailand.  You can apply for the visa from your local Thai consulate, at which time you will be required to provide registration documents and financial statements from the company (either your own company or the company that intends to hire you).

Once you receive a non-immigrant visa, you can apply for the work permit.  These are the documents you will need to provide:

  • Passport: copies of every page, including visa; each page must be signed by employee/applicant;
  • Education Degree (signed copy);
  • Transcript (signed copy);
  • CV or Resume, describing in detail the applicant’s past positions, duties, performance, etc.;
  • Photos (3) in size 5 x 6 cm (not passport photos)
  • Marriage Certificate (if married to Thai national), including original and signed copies.  Also Thai spouse’s Thai ID card and household registration (Tabien Baan), original and signed copies.

These are the documents the employer/company needs to provide:

  • Commercial Registration Department Certificate showing that the organisation that is sponsoring the work permit is a valid and duly registered company.  Must provide the name of the managing director, its objections and registered capital;
  • Shareholders List certified by the Commercial Registration Department;
  • Factory License (if required), issued by the Ministry of Industry;
  • VAT Certificate (Phor Phor 20)
  • VAT Filing (Phor Phor 30);
  • Witholding Tax (Phor Ngor Dor 1);
  • Social Security Payment filing

An additional requirement for obtaining a foreign work permit is that the company must employee at least 4 full-time Thai staff per every 1 foreign employee.  In actuality, if your company or the company that employs you is quite small and does not have 4 Thai staff on hand, it is enough for the company to pay the social security taxes for 4 specified Thai nationals.

The whole process may sound a little daunting, but really, it is quite straightforward, especially if you hire a lawyer or administrator to collect and organize all the paperwork on your behalf.  We always recommend hiring a lawyer and/or accountant or other administrator for assistance in forming companies, drawing up contracts, applying for permits and visas, etc.  For more information, you can visit Siam Legal

You can also contact us with any questions or feedback you may have, and we would be happy to recommend a few lawyers and administrators who can help you with any transactions in Thailand.

 

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