Understanding Thai Staffing Requirements for Hiring Foreign Staff in Thailand

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What foreign businesses should know before hiring employees in Thailand

Employment contracts

Thailand’s employment legislation permits both fixed-term and permanent written and verbal contracts. Even though it is not compulsory, preparing a thorough employment contract for any new recruits in Thailand is always advised.

Contracts protect both the employee and employer from any potential legal disputes. However, the Thai legal system often rules in favor of an employee if a clearly defined contract is not in place. Avoid using generic online generated templates, as these can be riskier when hiring internationally if they do not include specific in-country requirements.

Employment contracts must include such basic parameters as:

  • The role and responsibilities of an employee
  • Benefit packages
  • Compensation expectations
  • Termination requirements

When hiring foreign staff in Thailand, there are several requirements and procedures that employers need to follow. It’s important to comply with the relevant regulations to ensure a smooth and legal employment process. Here’s an overview of the key considerations regarding staffing requirements for hiring foreign employees in Thailand:

  • Work Permits: Foreign employees working in Thailand must obtain a valid work permit before they can commence employment. The work permit is issued by the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor, and is specific to the individual and their employer. Employers are responsible for initiating the work permit application process on behalf of their foreign employees.
  • Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for a work permit, foreign employees must meet certain requirements, including holding a non-immigrant visa, having relevant qualifications or expertise in the intended field of work, and being of good character and health. The specific eligibility criteria may vary depending on the type of work and the employee’s nationality.
  • Non-Immigrant Visas: Foreign employees need a non-immigrant visa to enter Thailand for employment purposes. The appropriate type of visa will depend on the nature of the work, such as business visa (B), employment visa (Non-B), or investment visa (Non-Immigrant B-A).
  • Quotas and Restrictions: Thailand imposes certain quotas and restrictions on the number of foreign employees that a company can hire, particularly in relation to the ratio of Thai to foreign employees. These restrictions vary based on the type of business and the industry. It’s important to consult the Department of Employment to ensure compliance with these quotas and restrictions.
  • Hiring Process and Documentation: Employers must follow a specific process for hiring foreign staff. This typically includes submitting an application for a work permit, providing supporting documents such as employment contracts, educational certificates, and medical certificates, as well as paying relevant fees. The Department of Employment will review the application and, if approved, issue the work permit.
  • Renewals and Extensions: Work permits have a limited validity period, typically one year. Employers must monitor the expiration dates and initiate the renewal process before the permit expires. Renewals may require similar documentation and fees as the initial application. Extensions beyond the initial one-year period may be possible, subject to meeting the relevant criteria.
  • Social Security Contributions: Employers are generally required to make social security contributions on behalf of their employees, including foreign employees. These contributions provide coverage for medical benefits, work-related injury compensation, and other social security benefits.

Restricted occupations for foreigners

Certain occupations are prohibited to foreigners and reserved for Thai citizens only. There are also certain requirements that foreigners must meet to apply for a particular employment opportunity.

Four lists of prohibited jobs fall within the Prescription of the Prohibited Occupations for Foreigners. They are as follows:

  • Occupations that are strictly prohibited for foreigners
  • Prohibited occupations for foreigners with the condition that foreigners are allowed to work under international agreements or obligations to which Thailand is bound under the provisions of law
  • Prohibited occupations for foreigners with the condition that foreign workers are allowed to do skilled or semi-skilled work when working for an employer
  • Prohibited occupations which foreign workers are permitted to perform under the condition of having employers and permitted to enter Thailand by Immigration Law under MoUs or agreements between the Thai government and foreign government

Tips on hiring in Thailand

Recruiting employees in Thailand can be a challenging and time-consuming process, especially for those businesses that decide to establish their own entity within the country. In that instance, companies must decide their organisational structure, set up a budget, and follow local legal requirements.

Leverage well-known employment websites

If your company doesn’t have a large budget allocated for recruitment, you can use popular job boards like JobsDB.com, LinkedIn, JobThai.com, and JotTopGun.com. However, it’s important to remember that this approach could take longer to find the right talent due to the low unemployment rate. Furthermore, your listing descriptions should clearly mention all the advantages, salary and benefits of a potential candidate working for your firm.

Use the local currency and language

Doing so is particularly important when it comes to dealing with documentation like offer letters or employment contracts. With such documents, businesses must utilise the Thai baht for all monetary amounts. Also, use Thai with your employees whenever possible, even if they know English. This way, your new employees will feel comfortable and welcome as they commence their new responsibilities.

Develop established and structured processes

Making a professional and positive impression is essential for the recruitment process. Your company must have a very clear structure for new hires, from recruitment through onboarding. Establishing a well-developed onboarding plan will aid your new global employees learn the ropes and integrate with the team.

It’s important to note that the procedures and requirements for hiring foreign staff in Thailand can be complex and may vary based on individual circumstances. It is advisable to engage with legal and immigration professionals who are well-versed in Thai labor laws and regulations to ensure compliance throughout the hiring and employment process.

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