Work Permit from an "Individual Business"

thai work permit

Work Permit from an “Individual Business”
Getting a work permit is unavoidable for anyone looking at living and working in Thailand for any length of time. It’s also the same for those from Thailand’s immediate neighbors, Burma and Laos, though those nationalities have a far harder time convincing the Thai authorities to grant them a work permit. To be honest getting a work permit as a westerner is not too difficult and it doesn’t need to be expensive, it just takes lots of paperwork and a little bit of time.

This post we look at the married expat who wants to live quietly in Thailand with his or her Thai spouse and not want the hassle of establishing and owning a new business just to secure a work permit. If the Thai spouse already owns a small business that is registered as an “Individual Business” then you may apply for a work permit through them providing they employ at least two Thai staff. The proof of employment for the Thai staff is in the form of receipts from compulsory social insurance payments.

Now this “Individual Business could be a small clothing shop, a hair salon, a minimart etc. The point is you are obtaining a work permit through a legally registered business. The work permit will come with some strict parameters of exactly what work you can do and of course there are fees involved and taxes to pay.

The beauty of this “Individual Business” is that there is no balance sheet to be paid every financial year and you dont need the services of a registered accountant to do the books every month. The Thai owner is permitted to do the accounts personally. Also you only need to employ two Thai staff – not four as with a company limited.

Strictly speaking a Westerner on a work permit issued in such a way is not supposed to perform labour such as serving or cleaning or driving. It can only be in a managerial role. So remember – even if your partner owns a small restaurant and you have a work permit, you shouldn’t take the order and bring the food………..

There are numerous reasons to consider getting yourself a work permit even if you dont really plan on doing much or any work during your stay here in the kingdom. The Thai establishment looks much kinder upon you when you hold the official blue book. You can apply for a Thai driver’s license, extend your visa indefinitely, claim social health insurance and so on. The process of changing your work permit to a new employer is also simplified somewhat.

Remember – getting caught working illegally in Thailand can land you and the company employing you in serious trouble. Hefty fines and deportation are all possibilities, so think twice before accepting an offer of employment without a work permit…….

Contact me at for more information on obtaining a work permit in Thailand.

Next post we’ll be looking at how to change your tourist visa into a non-immigrant visa without leaving the country – a new law that has just been passed.

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