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Spotlight on APAC Series: Thailand


In our Spotlight on APAC series we round up the most recent developments from across the Asia Pacific region.  In this post we take a brief look at some key eligibility criteria and process steps for employment visas in Thailand.


General key eligibility criteria

As a general guide applicants wanting to obtain a work permit in Thailand will need to meet a range of eligibility criteria.  Here we set out some points for consideration:

  1. Valid Non-Immigrant Visa: Before applying for a work permit, one must have a valid non-immigrant visa, typically a Non-Immigrant Visa “B.” This visa should be obtained from a Thai embassy or consulate, either in the applicant’s home country or current country of residence.
  2. Job Offer from a Thai Employer: A confirmed job offer from a registered Thai company is essential. The offer should clearly state the position, the nature of the work, and other employment details.
  3. Qualifications and Experience: Applicants must possess the necessary qualifications, skills, and experience relevant to the job role. This usually includes educational certificates, professional qualifications, and job references or a detailed employment history.


Industry-Specific Requirements

Apart from the general criteria, certain industries are subject to specific requirements or restrictions. These are governed by legislation and employers supporting work permit applications should ensure that they are aware of the requirements when aligning a candidate:

  1. Professional and Skill Requirements: Some professions may require specific certifications or licenses. For example, roles in engineering, healthcare, or education often have strict professional requirements.
  2. Quotas and Nationality Restrictions: There are restrictions on the number of foreign workers that a company can employ, often based on the size of the company and the Thai to foreign employee ratio. Additionally, certain industries might have limitations based on nationality, in alignment with international agreements or national policies.
  3. Restricted Occupations: The Thai government restricts certain occupations exclusively for Thai nationals. These typically include labour-intensive roles, jobs in agriculture, handicrafts, or retail positions that do not require specialised skills.

Understanding and meeting these criteria and requirements are crucial for foreign nationals seeking employment in Thailand. Compliance with these regulations ensures legal work status.


Application Process for Work Permits

The process for obtaining a work permit for Thailand is generally categorised in key stages that should be worked through to ensure compliance and the legal right to work in Thailand.   Generally, the process requires a detailed application to the Thai Immigration Authorities before the corresponding visa can be obtained. Employers and applicants are required to work together on the application process to provide supporting documents and information.


Step-by-Step Guide

Below is a brief outline of the process for the work permit application:

  1. Obtain Pre Approval: To facilitate the efficient processing of the visa application, it is critical that the prospective Thai employer initiates the submission of the pre-approval work permit letter (WP.3) from the Ministry of Labour. This step is essential to enable the Thai embassy or consulate to proceed with granting the appropriate visa.
  2. Obtain a Non-Immigrant Visa: The next step is to secure a non-immigrant visa, typically a Non-Immigrant Visa “B” (Business Visa), from a Thai embassy or consulate in the home country or current legal residence of the applicant.
  3. Submit Work Permit Application: Upon arrival in Thailand or in collaboration with the prospective Thai employer, initiate the process of submitting a work permit application to the Ministry of Labour. Employers typically play a key role in facilitating this step by providing essential company and role information and providing necessary support.



The following documents are typically required but the Ministry of Labour may request additional documentation at any stage of the process:

  • Passport with Valid Non-Immigrant Visa: Passport should be valid for at least six months and contains the appropriate visa.
  • Employment Offer or Contract: A formal job offer or contract from a Thai employer, stating position, job description, salary/compensation, and other employment terms.
  • Educational Certificates and Job References: Proof of the applicant’s qualifications and experience relevant to the job role.
  • Medical Certificate: A health certificate from a recognised medical institution, typically not exceeding six months from the date it is granted.


Compliance and Post Visa issuance requirements

All sponsoring employers in Thailand are required to comply with specific recordkeeping requirements.  Work Permits are valid for a specific role and duration and must be extended in accordance with legal requirements prior to the date of expiry.

In any case where a role changes during the period of the work permit permission, a new work permit application may be required in order to enable the individual to undertake the new role.  Similarly where employment is terminated, the work permit will be negated.


If you require information or assistance with immigration matters for Thailand please contact [email protected] and [email protected]


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