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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawAre Thai "Sponsored Work Permits" for Real?

Are Thai "Sponsored Work Permits" for Real?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing "sponsored work permits". This is something we discussed at length in a number of videos some months ago.

I have recently had a number of inquiries on this topic. People been asking me "oh, what is this "sponsored work permit"?" or "can you do this?" As we discussed in these prior videos, this is kind of a euphemistic term. It is sort of a colloquialism; in short it is kind of made up. It describes something that folks need to be really careful with. To the best of my knowledge and from what I have heard from folks that have been discussing this with me, it is basically the notion that some company sponsors a person for a Work Permit when in fact that person really isn't looking to work in that company. They are looking to either do their own thing or they are just using it pretextually just to get visa status for example in Thailand. They are just basically using it as a pretext or you can even go so far as perhaps say a pretense to go ahead and get authorization to remain in Thailand or have just general employment authorization in Thailand.

Let's be clear, if you are not doing what you say you are doing, that is illegal. If you are not working at the company, if it is not your job whatever is said on your work permit and you are not working there, well then sponsored or not sponsored which every work permit has to be sponsored so I don't know what that means, “sponsored work permit”, all companies have to sponsor Work Permits in Thailand. There is no such thing as an “unsponsored” work permit in Thailand but the thing to take away from this video is you have got to be careful with this. If you are doing something that goes against what you say you are doing to the Thai Government, it is a real problem. Folks bring up the fact that they say "well what about these small companies, folks that are consulting and things and they have a relatively small presence in Thailand and they have set up their own company and their sponsoring themselves?" Well but they are doing what they say they are doing. They are sponsoring themselves through their company. Yes, for example Americans through The Amity Treaty can own their own company; depending on circumstances BOI sponsorship may be out there; someone may have found a Thai partner in which they are operating with in conjunction with that person in order to be in compliance with the Foreign Business Act, there are certain businesses which are exempt from the Foreign Business Act, again there are multiple ways to set up a company in Thailand and one of the main benefits for a company setup might be work authorization and Business Visa status. Again if you are doing what you say you are doing it shouldn't be a problem. With the scenarios I hear described in the context of these so-called “sponsored work permits”, that doesn't appear to be the case. When you are doing something as a pretext or even at worst, a pretense that can be a real problem especially if it is scrutinized by Authorities here in the Kingdom of Thailand.