Alien Employment Act; If you are a foreigner and you intend to work in Thailand, you are subject to the Alien Employment Act, which requires you to have a work permit to be issued by the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, or unless it falls within an exception of the said Act.
The term “work” in Thai law is defined very broadly, covering both physical and mental activities, whether or not for wages and other form of compensation. Even volunteer or charity work requires a work permit in Thailand.
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According to Thai law, foreigners can work in the country but factors such as the national security, as well as the need of alien labour for the development of the country are being considered. Thai nationals are still to be given priority.
Under the Alien Employment Act, the following occupations are closed to foreigners and are reserved for Thai nationals only:
- Labour work except labour work in fishing boats under the next category below.
- Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery, except work requiring specialized knowledge, farm supervision, or labour work in fishing boats, particularly marine fishery.
- Bricklaying, carpentry, or other construction work.
- Wood carving.
- Driving motor vehicles or vehicles which do not use machinery or mechanical devices, except piloting international aircraft.
- Front shop sale.
- Auction sale work.
- Supervising, auditing, or giving service in accountancy, except occasional internal auditing.
- Cutting or polishing precious or semi-precious stones.
- Haircutting, hairdressing, or beautification.
- Cloth weaving by hand.
- Mat weaving or making utensils from reed, rattan, jute, hay, or bamboo.
- Making rice paper by hand.
- Lacquer work.
- Making Thai musical instruments.
- Niello work.
- Goldsmith, silversmith, or gold-and-copper alloy smith work.
- Stone work.
- Making Thai dolls.
- Making mattresses or quilts.
- Making alms bowls.
- Making silk products by hand.
- Making Buddha images.
- Knife making.
- Making paper or cloth umbrellas.
- Making shoes.
- Making hats.
- Brokerage or agency except in international trading.
- Professional civil engineering concerning design and calculation, systemization, analysis, planning, testing, construction supervision, or consulting services, excluding work requiring specialized techniques.
- Professional architectural work concerning design, drawing-making, cost estimation, or consulting services.
- Cigarette rolling by hand.
- Tour guiding or conducting.
- Hawking of goods.
- Thai typesetting by hand.
- Unwinding and twisting silk by hand.
- Clerical or secretarial work.
- Providing legal services or engaging in legal work