What kind of Jobs can foreigners do in Thailand?
Thailand, renowned for its warm hospitality, welcomes foreign workers to contribute to its thriving economy. However, it’s essential to be aware of the specific rules and regulations imposed on what jobs foreigners can do in Thailand.
In this blog post, we will explore the job categories that allow employment for foreigners and those prohibited for foreigners in Thailand. Understanding these restrictions will help you navigate the job market and ensure compliance with the government’s guidelines.
- In Thailand, four groups of jobs are prohibited for foreigners.
- There are certain exceptions available that allow foreigners to work jobs contained in sections 2,3, and 4.
- Exceptions include being permitted to work under international agreements or obligations that Thailand has committed to per relevant laws and being able to perform skilled or semi-skilled work when employed by an authorized employer.
- Foreigners wishing to work in Thailand are required to hold a Non-Immigrant B (Business Visa) and a Work Permit.
What jobs can foreigners do in Thailand?
Foreign individuals in Thailand are prohibited from engaging in restricted occupations or working without a valid work permit. Moreover, employers in Thailand are strictly forbidden from hiring foreigners for restricted occupations or employing individuals without a valid work permit.
What jobs are restricted for foreigners in Thailand?
Per Section 7 of the Foreigners’ Working Management Emergency Decree B.E. 2561, four categories of jobs are prohibited for foreigners. The groups are as follows:
- List 1: Strictly prohibited
- List 2: Prohibited with exceptions
- List 3: Exceptions for skilled or semi-skilled workers
- List 4: Exceptions under treaties
List 1: Strictly prohibited jobs
The following jobs are strictly prohibited for foreigners in Thailand:
- Wood carving
- Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a domestic mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft or forklift driving
- Cutting or polishing diamond or precious stones
- Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment
- Cloth weaving by hand
- Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw, bamboo, bamboo pellicle, grass, chicken feather, coconut leaf stick, fibre, wire or other materials
- Mulberry paper making by hand
- Lacquerware making
- Making Thai musical instruments
- Nielloware making
- Gold ornaments, silverware or pink gold making
- Bronze ware making
- Thai dolls making
- Alms bowl making
- Silk products making by hand
- Buddha images making
- Paper or cloth umbrella making
- Brokerage or agency work, except brokerage or agency working in international trade or investment
- Thai massage
- Cigarette rolling by hand
- Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation
- Manual typesetting of Thai characters
- Silk reeling and twisting by hand
- Clerical or secretarial work
- Legal services or services in legal proceedings, except for the following occupations:
- Performing duties of arbitration
- Providing assistance or representation in the arbitral proceedings if the law applicable to the dispute being considered by the arbitrators is not the Thai law
List 2: Prohibited with exceptions
Foreigners are restricted from engaging in certain occupations unless permitted to work under international agreements or obligations that Thailand has committed to under relevant laws.
- Controlling, auditing, performing, or providing accounting services, except:
- Occasional internal audit work
- Work under international agreements or obligations to which Thailand is bound, which the Professional Association provides a certificate
- Civil engineering concerning counseling, project planning, design and calculation, construction supervision or manufacturing, inspection, and administration work to organise the system, research, and test, except those registered under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and other international agreements.
- Professional architectural work concerning project study, design, construction management, supervision, inspection, or consulting, except for professional architects under the ASEAN MRA for architectural services and other international agreements.
List 3: Exceptions for skilled or semi-skilled workers
While foreign workers are generally prohibited from engaging in certain occupations, an exception permits them to perform skilled or semi-skilled work when employed by an authorized employer.
- Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery
- Bricklaying, carpentry or construction works
- Mattress or quilt blanket making
- Hat making
- Dress making
- Pottery or ceramic ware making
List 4: Exceptions under treaties
Foreign workers are authorized to perform prohibited occupations under the following conditions:
- They must have employers, and
- Their entry into Thailand must be under the Immigration Law under Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) or agreements between the Thai and foreign governments.
Qualifying jobs include:
- Labour (manual work and simple work which requires physical strength)
- Shop front sellers (selling goods at a wholesale or retail establishment as well as selling goods at stalls or shops located in markets or roadsides)
Do you need a visa and work permit?
Foreigners wishing to work in Thailand must hold a Non-Immigrant B visa, also known as a, business visa and a Work Permit. It is also important to note that a foreigner holding a Non-Immigrant O visa based on marriage to a Thai national can also work in Thailand. The process takes at least 1 month and is usually done in 3 steps:
- Obtaining a Non-Immigrant B Visa from the Thai consulate abroad (either in your country of residence if you do not live in Thailand or in a neighboring country such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia or Cambodia). The Non-Immigrant Visa is granted for 3 months.
- Obtaining a Work Permit from the Labor Department. The Work Permit is granted for 1 year.
- Extending the Non-Immigrant B Visa to 1 year at the Immigration Department based on the newly issued Work Permit.
It is important to note, Thailand has a wide definition of what is considered work and any activity that falls under this definition requires a work permit. Please note that there is no requirement to hold a Work Permit for shareholders or directors of a company. However, if a director signs documents on behalf of the company, a work permit must be obtained as this is deemed work.
How can Belaws help?
For more information about getting a job as a foreigner in Thailand, why not talk to one of our experts now?
This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Our consultations last for a period of up to 1 hour and are conducted by expert Lawyers who are fluent in English, French and Thai.
Consultations can be hosted via WhatsApp or Video Conferencing software for your convenience. A consultation with one of our legal experts is undoubtedly the best way to get all the information you need and answer any questions you may have about your new business or project.
Up to 1 hour
Online payment (Paypal or Credit card)
Legal consultation can be conducted in English, French or Thai
Legal consultations are handled by experienced lawyers from the relevant fields of practice
Frequently asked questions
Can I get a job in Thailand as a foreigner?
Foreign individuals in Thailand can get a job, but they need to hold a Non-Immigrant B (Business Visa) and a Work Permit.
Is it hard for a foreigner to get a job in Thailand?
It is possible for foreigners to get a job in Thailand, but they must comply with the specific rules and regulations regarding employment for foreigners.
Can I go to Thailand and find a job?
It is possible to go to Thailand and find a job, but foreigners must follow the legal requirements and obtain the appropriate visas and work permits.
What kind of jobs can foreigners do in Thailand without a work permit?
Foreigners are generally prohibited from working without a valid work permit in Thailand.
To our newsletter for all the latest legal news
in South East Asia, Belaws updates and
special promotions on our services.
To our newsletter today for all the latest legal news in South East Asia,
Belaws updates and special promotions on our services.
We are open:
Monday – Friday
9 am – 6 pm (UTC+7)