Thailand has successfully attracted foreign investment in the country, accounting for the many foreign companies registered in Thailand. A direct result of having foreign-owned or managed companies is the employment of foreign nationals to work for said companies. In most foreign-registered or –owned companies, employees or workers are local and foreign nationals.
The principal law that governs the employment of foreigners in Thailand is the Alien Employment Act BE 2521 (1978). The Act does not apply to foreigners working as members of diplomatic or consular mission and representatives of member countries and officials of the United Nations and its specialized agencies; personal servants coming from foreign countries to work regularly for members of diplomatic or consular missions and the United Nations member countries; persons who perform mission under an agreement concluded between Thailand and a foreign government or international organization; persons who perform a duty or mission for the benefit of education in culture, art, sport or other activities as may be prescribed by Royal Decree; and persons permitted by the Government of Thailand to enter and perform any duty or mission.
The Alien Employment Act lists down the specific occupations reserved exclusively for Thai nationals, including engineering, architecture, accounting, law, brokerage and carpentry, amongst others.
Occupations Exclusive to Thai Nationals
The following are the occupations limited to Thai nationals and may not be approved for foreign nationals.
Work Permits for Foreign Workers
The Act provides that a foreigner may engage in work only for an occupation not exclusive to Thai national, and only upon receipt of a work permit from the Director General of the Department of Employment or his entrusted official.
A work permit issued to a foreigner must be kept with him or at the place of work for easy and fast presentation in case of inspection. A foreign worker is only allowed to work in occupation as prescribed in the work permit and may not otherwise change the locality or place of work without the approval of the Department of Employment. Click here for more information on who can assist you in applying for work permit as a foreign national in Thailand.