Important news for Americans on the impact of the new Emergency Decree and Work Permit requirements

We at Sunbelt Asia read the recent emergency degree and felt that it seemed that Thai -American Amity Treaty Company directors would not need a work permit. We then double checked with the Ministry of Labour in Bangkok and they agreed that American directors with a Thai- American Amity Treaty Company or Sole Proprietorship would not need a work permit. This means that the company would not need to be VAT registered unless sales were higher than 1.8 million baht in a year. Additionally, this means the company would not have any Thai employee requirements and would not be required to have registered capital of 2 million baht.

According to the Ministry of Labour, a business registered under the Foreign Business Operations Act under the U.S.-Thai Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations of 1833 (referred to as a Thai-American Amity Treaty Company) falls under the aegis of foreign business operations as per the “Amendment to the Emergency Decree on Managing of Foreigners B.E. 2560” promulgated under Article 44;

The Emergency Decree on Managing of Foreigners B.E. 2560 defines work as “an engagement of any profession, with or without employer but excluding business operation of a licensee under the law governing foreign business operation.” (Section 5 of the amended Decree). “Licensee” refers to business operations that have been granted a license under the Foreign Business Operation Act.

According to Section 4 of the Amendment of the Emergency Decree, the following types of duties and work activities no longer require a work permit:
  • Persons who enter Thailand periodically to hold or attend a meeting, a lecture, a demonstration at a meeting, express an opinion, attend a training, a work inspection, (or a seminar etc.) according to the period and conditions prescribed by the Council of Ministers;
  • Persons who enter Thailand to operate a business or to make investments or who have knowledge, ability or highly developed skills, which would be beneficial to the development of Thailand, as prescribed by the Council of Ministers;
  • Representatives of a foreign juristic person licensed to operate a business under the law governing foreign business operations.
To obtain a non-B visa for 90 days in neighboring countries you need to show a WP3, this is the application for a work permit granted by the Labour Department. If you need a multiple entry, certain countries such as the Thai Embassy in Malaysia, will give you a non-B with a copy of your work permit. They seem to not have received the memo as they insist you must have a work permit even if you are a representative of a Thai-American Amity Treaty Company. 

However, in the USA it seems to be a different story; an American should be able to obtain a multiple entry non-B visa in the United States with their Thai-American Amity Treaty company paperwork and will not need a work permit to run the business in Thailand.

Those who already hold a visa that allows for one-year extensions (by reasons of marriage, investment, or Elite visa) are able to manage their Thai-American Amity treaty companies without a work permit.

Those who do not require a work permit will still be required to pay personal income tax; if a corporation then you are paid a salary and you pay personal income tax on that. If you have a Sole Proprietorship, then you pay a percentage of your income if you use the standard fixed deduction. If you use expenses with receipts, then it’s the personal income tax on your net profit.

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Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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