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Phuket Poll: Is the Thai work permit necessary?

PHUKET: The news last week that a work permit is not required in order to receive income from renting out a condo brought much relief to expat condo owners across the island.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 20 July 2016, 09:36AM

The work permit is used by Thai officials as critical in determining whether or not a foreigner is legally working in the Kingdom, but is it really necessary? Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

The work permit is used by Thai officials as critical in determining whether or not a foreigner is legally working in the Kingdom, but is it really necessary? Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

However, the disparity of that decision (see story here) compared with the need for a work permit for any other income-creating activities by foreigners has thrown the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons in a country where work permits are required by any foreigner even doing free volunteer work.

For decades the concept of whether or not money is received has been irrelevant as the definition of work in Thailand remains “engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits” (see Ministry of Labour website here).

This definition was made plain as even emergency relief volunteers entering the country to help those affected by the tsunami in 2004 were technically required to have work permits in order to simply help for free.

Yet for Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, the work permit has gone the way of the dodo. All the required information in order to work in those countries must be provided to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or equivalent of those nations at the time of applying for an appropriate visa that allows the holder to work in the country.

Thailand requires the same, yet all that same information must be provided to the Department of Employment in order to be issued a work permit.

Worse, the Thai work permit does not provide any extra protection against foreigners working illegally in the country and does not confirm whether or not appropriate income tax is being paid by the foreigner.

To this, The Phuket News this week asks its readers: “Is the Thai work permit necessary?”

Responses available are:

  1. Yes, the work permit is a valuable form of identification and should be upgraded to a photo ID card.
  2. Yes, the work permit is a valuable form of identification and should be kept in the booklet form as is.
  3. No, the work permit not necessary but there is no harm in keeping it.
  4. No, the work permit is pointless and should be discontinued immediately.

To vote in the poll, click here.

The poll will continue online until August 2.

If you don’t see your preferred response above, feel free to add it in the comments section below.

To see the results of our previous poll, which asked, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” click here.



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Joe12 | 22 July 2016 - 19:45:53

Christy...correct quote.. try again. Like I told Rorii, go get a law degree, so at least you can interpret and understand what is the law and what is being said. That way you wont assume anything. 

Timothy/Rorii.. don't know how you arrive at the conclusion of bragging. Just stating a simple fact. Never said I was conducting a business because it's none of your business, so I don't ...

Timothy | 22 July 2016 - 08:56:56

Rorii, Joe12 was also bragging recently about how successful his business is here in Phuket. Is that successful business making use of Thai nominees? I'm sure his super positive pro-everything-Thai will definitely change once he starts getting screwed over by Thai officials, right or wrong, like I am sure many other commenters have been.   

Christy Sweet | 22 July 2016 - 08:16:31

Joe 12, In your quote you leave out the portion that pertains to this subject (and shows your error.) It reads "Aliens or juristic [bold] persons stated in Section 19 may only have ownership in a condominium unit or units."

Juristic meaning a company. Alien- singular "unit," juristic-plural, "units"

So, assuming you are foreign, we can also assume those four uni...

Christy Sweet | 21 July 2016 - 20:00:55

Asterix, what he said was " will not be investigating..," not that it's legal. This is similar to an angler luring a fish to get it on the hook. Then later it will be "oh we enforce rule now" of course the fish will  be given an option to " Pay a little bit now.."  so it does not go into the pan. 

Joe12 | 21 July 2016 - 18:51:50

Asterix..."The Condominium Act for a foreigner is valid for one apartment only." Nowhere in The Act does it state that. In fact, when referring to the 49% ownership rule, S.19 of the Act refers to "...ownership in a condominium unit or units.."

Kurt | 21 July 2016 - 18:34:41

Asterix, may it be that the Labor Department only want to talk about working permits?
And the tax issue is something for Revenue Department.

As thai officials write sometimes: "Many laws are involved".
I guess different thai departments not fish in each others pond.
The idea to have just 1 desk for all this is not in their mind.

Rorii | 21 July 2016 - 18:33:02

Joe12,(referring to the Condominium Act) hope you aren't breaking any "laws", you bragged, only a couple of weeks ago, that you had just brought 4 condos, or was that just more BS.

Asterix | 21 July 2016 - 16:09:16

Labour Department said that a foreigner may rent an appartment in a condominium without a work-permit but he did not say if the income from rental has to be declared to Revenue Department for tax.
Also the Condominium act for a foreigner is valid for one appartment only; so those foreigners buying several appartments will need to set up a Thai company and get a work-permit to manage the company a...

simon01 | 20 July 2016 - 14:41:20

Its value is that it proves that the person is here legally and registered. If they have this then there is a very good chance the rest of the paperwork is in order. I t should not need to be renewed every year. Just when changing jobs. It should be that a certain person is registered to work for this company doing that job. 

Christy Sweet | 20 July 2016 - 13:00:08

Necessary? None of those four are applicable to my thoughts. Here's how I would frame the responses;

1) To document foreigners' work privileges under existing laws, sure.

 2) To have such ludicrous requirements so as to be harassing. (Syphilis tests?) No.

3) To make it so a small business owner and riding instructor has to subject herself to an Or Bor Tor's, er....financial wh...

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