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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawCan a Foreigner Work in a Restaurant in Thailand?

Can a Foreigner Work in a Restaurant in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing foreigners working in restaurants here in the Kingdom. 

Now let me be clear. This is going to kind of blur the lines between foreigners owning a restaurant and foreigners working in a restaurant and where possible I will try to sort of parse out the differences.  The thing to take away from this video is while foreigners could in theory be working in a restaurant, and in fact do work in restaurants, there are still restricted occupations for foreigners here in the Kingdom of Thailand so perhaps not every job is going to be available to a foreigner in the Kingdom.  The best way to look at it is certain jobs, especially certain types of wait staff jobs and there are some aspects of cooking jobs which could be construed as a foreigner being in violation of the occupational rules depending on the circumstances. That being said, where you are going to see most foreign nationals working here in the Kingdom, you are probably going to see them in more of a managerial capacity and in those cases I don't think you really have an issue; again this is circumstantially dependent. Where ownership is sort of acting in a managerial capacity, I don't think you are going to really have an issue but maybe a manager on their own, especially where they can't really prove up a qualification, you may have some issues with respect to getting a Work Permit on that individual and Work Permit applications can be denied; we have done videos on that issue on this channel previously.

Moreover, the other thing to take away from this video is it is very difficult to delineate matters of ownership and management away from sometimes some of the more rudimentary aspects of running a restaurant and you need to be careful, because as I stated previously, and there is a list of restricted occupations in Thailand, and if you don't watch out you could go over the line with respect to the restrictions and that can result in fines and penalties. Not something that is probably going to make a big problem on a day-to-day basis but still something to be aware of with respect to maintaining one's status here in the Kingdom. That being stated in recent years especially in light of the emergency decrees associated with work authorization here in the Kingdom, there has been at least in the narrow confines of labour authorization, where one has a Work Permit it appears to me that Labour Authorities and Immigration Authorities are not going out of their way to nitpick as to what exactly the job description and the exact nature of the work involved with that given work permit is. So I think the rule of thumb generally is ownership is going to be able to have I shouldn't say no problem but the Work Permit process is going to be relatively straightforward for the owner /director of a given Thai company that's running a restaurant here in the Kingdom. Meanwhile the management side of things I think most of the time where it is clearly a management function, a foreigner is probably not going to have an issue obtaining work authorization. Getting down into the more day to day for lack of better term I shouldn’t say mundane but the more nuts and bolts functions of the restaurant it is probably a good idea to get some professional advice with respect to work authorization under those circumstances because I have seen problems with Immigration and Labour arise from foreigners undertaking tasks that really do fall under the restricted occupations list and for that reason being somewhat vigilant to the possibility of moving over the line with respect to that issue is probably a good idea.