A work permit allows a Non Thai National to work and operate a business in Thailand as a skilled professional or as an employer. The work permit is required in order to be able to work legally in Thailand.
Before you or your future employer can apply for it, you need to get a Non Immigrant Visa. If you are in Thailand already, let’s say based on a ED Visa, you must change the type of Visa first. Only way to do so is to leave Thailand without Re-Entry Permit and apply for a Non Immigrant Visa in one of the neighboring Thai Embassies or Consulates.
A Re-Entry Permit entitles to re-enter the Kingdom before the Visa expires, but in above case you want your Visa to expire!
I have chosen to visit the Royal Thai Consulate in Vientiane for this. Please read here how it went.
As you may assumed correctly, one needs to present a whole bunch of documents when applying for a Non Immigrant Visa. As a future employee, the company you will work for is well prepared and makes sure your application documents are complete. If you would like to run your own business I recommend to seek advise from law firms. They are usually better informed then local authorities.
Once your Visa has approved you have 30 days in order to apply for a work permit.
Again, as employee your future company will help you through the process which basically is handing in all documents to the local Department of Labor (สำนักงานจัดหางานจังหวัดเชียงใหม่ (ฝ่ายคุ้มครองหางานและการทำงานของคนต่างด้าว)WORK PERMIT), wait for 5 to 10 working days and pick up the blue document as shown in the picture above.
Please click here for the location in Chiang Mai.
When granted with a work permit, you must work only with the applying company. If in case you are assigned to another location of the same company, a new work permit covering such new location would be required. The same is required if and when the individual would work with another company. The work permit is therefore issued for this specific company at this specific location.
If you would like to work in your own company, a law firm will guide you the best.
Working without a Thai work permit might cause severe consequences. A foreigner, who is arrested for working without work permit, will be punished with a fine or imprisonment.