DISPELLING THE MYTHS OF A WORK PERMIT
We have recently had enquiries from our VISA & IMMIGRATION article regarding the requirements for work permits here in Thailand, in particular from five YouTube video channel creators, so Pom and I set to work over the last week investigating some facts…..
To legally work in Thailand, a foreigner must apply for a work permit. A work permit ‘THE BLUE BOOK’ is a legal document that states a foreigner’s position, current occupation, or job description and the Thai company he/she is working with. It also serves as a license to perform a job or an occupation allowed for foreigners inside Thailand. This gets even finer ! A Teacher of English Language is not permitted to teach swimming at the same school unless it is listed on the work permit as a secondary occupation.
Foreigners entering Thailand are not permitted to work, regardless of their type of visa, unless they are granted a work permit. Those who intend to work in Thailand must hold the correct type of visa to be eligible to apply for a work permit.
Later in this article, we are addressing the current topic on foreigners (resident and non-resident) using YOUTUBE earning revenue and those not earning revenue without a work permit, so, who is breaking the law ? You may be surprised like I was when Pom did his investigation.
To secure a work permit in Thailand, a foreigner needs an initial visa, which is a non-immigrant visa. A work permit will not be given to someone on an A-O visa ‘Retirement’. The non-immigrant visa must first be obtained from the Thai embassy in the foreigner’s own country before entering Thailand.
Once the foreigner has a non-immigrant visa, they may begin to process the work permit. The work permit process would take from 7 to 28 business days to accomplish. The work permit application is processed in the Ministry of Labour office.
A foreigner is eligible to apply for a work permit as long as he has a non-immigrant visa (not based on retirement) or a resident visa, has an available employer who will provide documents for work permit, and the occupation he will perform is not prohibited to foreigners.
The applicant has to submit the following documents:
-A complete copy of every-page of your passport
-If you are applying for any post, paid or unpaid working with children, you will need to supply a Police Clearance Certificate from your own country, in England this is known as an ‘Advanced DBS’ not a basic check which are not accepted here. This is highlighted to Teaching posts and Orphanage Voluntary work.
-A copy of your’ non-immigrant visa into Thailand
-A copy of the white departure-card TM-6
– Any educational degrees used for employment
– Any certificates or licenses used for employment
– A copy of your’ CV or Resume’
– 3 photos, size 5 x 6 centimetres, head and shoulders
-All paperwork submitted, translated into Thai
The employer has to provide the following:
-A company certificate and objectives
-A financial statement
-A photocopy of the director’s passport and work permit with signature affixed
-An office map
-A letter of employment stating position and salary of applicant
-An employment agreement/contract
– Commercial registration certificate showing the amount of registered-capital, the managing director
-Shareholders list, certified by the commercial registration department
– VAT certificate Phor Phor 20
– VAT Filing Phor Phor 30
-Withholding Tax Phor Ngor Dor 1
-Social security payment filing
Once granted, the foreigner has to bring the work permit all the time especially at the work place and during working hours. Please note that the foreigner can only perform the job stated in the work permit and on the specific employer.
Now let’s do some myth busting here, in accordance with the regulations.
Before this gets too complex, lets look at the basics. We already know that if you want to work in Thailand ‘in any level’ Paid or Unpaid, you need a work permit.
WHAT WORK CAN A FOREIGNER DO IN THAILAND?
The short answer here is simple, if a Thai national could be employed to do the work, then an Alien is not permitted to do so unless the employer has 80% of Thai staff doing the same job. There are however a number of exceptions. An English Teacher is a good example because a foreigner has a ‘Native Tongue’ whether it be English, Japanese, Chinese or another language on the curriculum.
A Foreigner can also work at an Orphanage in Thailand with a work permit.
Both of these roles could be paid or unpaid, however, even unpaid you are getting reward either financial or in kind (bed, board, food, travel) so instantly the Work Permit Law is Active. Yes, even if you work for Gratis, Free, no Pesos, it does not matter. The fact is you are receiving a reward for your work. If you want to volunteer at a Thai Orphanage THANK YOU but you must arrange a work permit with them ahead of your arrival.
If you are a YouTube creator, read on.
There are certain employment posts here in Thailand that are accepted that ‘a Thai could do the job’ but there is some movement, the Thai government introduced the ‘Business Visa’ to accommodate this but a work permit is still required conforming with all of the above regulations. A prime example of this is, another country has an office in Thailand and they send employees say from Australia or Canada to Bangkok or Chiang Mai. This is actually legal, an international company can bring in an alien to enforce the industrial capacity for the benefit of Thailand.
Pom explained to me that ‘although you want to cut your grass or paint your house here in Thailand, if you do it yourself, it is considered working, you must employ a Thai to do this work’ That is how basic the law is.
YOUTUBE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Okay, Pom and I had some heavy discussions about this subject, the pro’s and cons but there is a simple one line answer, according to the department of Labour and Department of Employment.
YOUTUBE DONATIONS TO CHANNELS – THAILAND BASED YOUTUBE BROADCASTERS
Do YouTube creators who supply links to PayPal or Patreon need a work permit ? Are they working ?
Do YouTube Creators (not tourist snapping a vacation) who do not ask for donations to their channel working ?
Do YouTube Creators who raise money for benefactors voluntarily working ?
Do YouTube Creators who walk around promoting Bars, Restaurants and tourists areas, is this considered working ?
If a YouTube Creator becomes a journalist in their own right (someone who publicly investigates or reports on ANY SUBJECT and creates a story on a media platform YouTube Facebook or website) are they working ?IN SIMPLE TERMS YES – DONATIONS OR NOT, THEY ARE EFFECTIVELY WORKING
In line with Thai Law, whether or not you are asking for donations to your channel if it is not a basic tourist “vlog” (we do not like the term Vlog, derived from Video Log, Web Blog ‘Blog’ as pointed out by a respected Analysist from AUS.
Quite simply, if your YouTube Commentary falls under any of the above, you will need a Work Permit, the correct visa and a PRESS CARD.
So, if you are digitally investigating or reporting media news, or other YouTube Channels or Promoting a Hotel, the fine line is … YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW (see the next section) You are a ‘Digital Journalist’ qualified or unqualified. (defined here)
Pom found an interesting ACT of Law from the late King, issued 10 years ago last February, in 2008 or as Pom says 2551 ‘Working of Alien Act’ aliens_act
USING YOUTUBE AS AN INVESTIGATIVE DIGITAL JOURNALIST
(Reporting News or Events or Releasing Investigative Natured News)
Thai or Alien, acting as an investigative digital journalist including online, going to or wanting to work in Thailand then there are a few basic rules which you need to meet over and above the work permit for non Thais.
The requirements for a work permit in Thailand for a foreign journalist is listed as follows by the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand. Note what needs to be applied for and also the procedure as it is not the same as other work permits.
To work in Thailand legally you need to have the following:
• a valid press card;
• a Thai visa normally a Non Immigrant “M” visa;
• a valid Thai work permit.
Now you first need to obtain a press card as this means an application to the Public Relations Department (PRD) of the Thai Government. We have listed their address and contact details below. In order to obtain this press card you need to:
1. Eligible Applicants and Validity
• Correspondents of magazines, newspapers, foreign news agencies, and also for radio and television stations. Note that this card is valid for 1 year only.
• Thai citizens who work for foreign newspapers or agencies, and also those who work for radio and television stations. The card is also only valid for 1 year.
• Local correspondents in Thailand, and also radio and television representatives going abroad on temporary missions. The card is valid for the period of assignment.
2. Press Card Application Requirements
• A copy of the application form and one photo (2 inches). The application form is available at http://thailand.prd.go.th.
• An acknowledgement letter issued by the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs verifying the correspondent’s status
• An accredited letter issued by the agency’s headquarters addressing to the “Director-General of the Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister”
• A photocopy of valid passport, visa, and (in case of renewal) work permit
• Application fee 50 baht
Once you have obtained your Thai visa “M” and have now obtained a press card you need to apply for a work permit to start working in Thailand. Note the contact details for the Thai government departments as well as the address of the Foreign Correspondents Club in Thailand.
Thai Foreign Office
Thai Government Press Division
Public Relations Department Department of Information
7th floor Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9, Phaholyothin Road Soi 7 (Soi Aree Samphan) Si Ayutthaya Road
Phyathai, Bangkok 10400 Phyathai, Bangkok 10400
Tel: 02-6182323 ext. 1713, 1715 Tel: 02-2035000 ext. 22005, 22008
Fax: 02-6183637 Fax: 02-6435106-7
(BTS: Aree Station)
One-Stop Service Center for Work Permit The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand
Jamjuree Square Tower, 18th floor Penthouse, Maneeya Center Building
319, Phayathai Road 518/5, Ploenchit Road
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Tel.: 02-2091100 Tel: 02-6520580-1
(MRT: Sam Yan Station) (BTS: Chitlom Station)
Now Pom will outline the Penalties
Working without a work permit
(Section 51) Imprisonment for 5 years or a fine ranging from 2,000 Baht to 100,000 Baht or both
Having a work permit but engaging in an occupation other than stated in the work permit
(Section 52) A fine not exceeding 20,000 Baht
Having a work permit but not having it on you when demanded by the police
(Section 53) A fine not exceeding 10,000 Baht
Employing a foreigner without a work permit
(Section 54) A fine not exceeding 100,000 Baht per person.