Guide to Working in Bangkok (as a foreigner)
Many foreigners like the idea of moving to Bangkok for work. It is a modern city that offers a wonderfully laidback atmosphere in which to enjoy life. It is also one of the cheapest cities to live in, providing easy access to affordable housing, food, and transport.
It is possible to live and work in Thailand as a foreigner. However, there are some rules and restrictions one needs to be aware of to avoid running afoul of the law. Bangkok is a major business, financial, and tech hub in Asia, so depending on the nature of work you are pursuing, it can be a great place to further your career. Here is some basic information you should factor in before making such a move.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and home to a variety of multinationals. A substantial number of foreigners working in the kingdom do so in the financial sector where many multinational banks have offices in Bangkok. There are also many work opportunities to be had in the hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, real estate, automotive, technology, and communications sectors.
Know that the kingdom has laws that give priority to Thai nationals when it comes to job opportunities. Under the Alien Employment Act, there are even certain career options that are closed to foreigners and exclusively reserved for Thai nationals. Be sure to check if the field you want to work in has opportunities open to you as a foreigner.
Visa and Work Permit
Before you can take up any job in Bangkok, you will need to have a valid visa and work permit. These are separate documents. The visa should be obtained from your local Thai embassy or consulate before travelling to Thailand. There are a variety of short-stay visas that one may acquire, either from their home country or upon entry, depending on their country of origin. This can be useful if seeking to first explore the kingdom and undertake job interviews before a final move.
If you are over the age of 50 and are considering taking up a retirement visa, know that you cannot get a work permit with this visa. A non-immigrant B visa is the most applied for visa option by foreigners that have secured a job offer in Thailand or have been transferred by their employers to their Thai branch. The non-immigrant B-A or IB visas are reserved for foreigners planning to invest and do business in Thailand with a local company.
There is also the O volunteer visa designated for those that want to work as volunteers or in charity work within Thailand. These work visas are usually valid for about 90 days and require the holder to apply for an extension and work permit within that period.
While work visas should be attained from a person’s home country, work permits are applied for while in Thailand. You need to apply for it at the Ministry of Labour’s Department of Employment. If successfully acquired, a work permit remains valid for up to two years. to qualify for a work permit, your employer must have fulfilled conditions set by the Ministry of Labour.
Once you arrive on a work visa, you will also be expected to get a taxpayer identification number (TIN) and register as a resident alien. Acquiring visas, work permits and other required documentation can be somewhat complicated for those that have never worked in Bangkok. There are many documents to be submitted, including some from your employer. It is a good idea to consult with your employer’s human resource department or engage an immigration lawyer to help navigate the quagmire.