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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawIs It Possible to Apply for a Thai Work Permit Online?

Is It Possible to Apply for a Thai Work Permit Online?

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today, we're going to be discussing the issue of online work permit applications. A recent article from the Bangkok Post published October 7, 2017, the title of the article is “Expats get app to apply for work permits.” To quote directly from the article, “The country launched its first smartphone app on Friday allowing expats to launch requests for work permits and have them approved though applicants will still need to make at least two offline trips to specially setup centers to complete the procedure.”

The app “Thailand Digital Work Permit” was introduced to companies and foreign employees on Friday. The app resulted from a project jointly launched by the BOI, the Labor Ministry and the Immigration Bureau called “Single Window.” To register, foreign employees must first obtain a username and password at a work permit center at the BOI’s branch in Chapter Square in Bangkok. They can then submit their request via the app. After the request is approved, the employee must report again to the center.

I urge those who are interested in this - in studying this further - go check out this article and read that article in depth. I'm just going to give some quick commentary with respect to how I think this is going to operate in practice. First of all, it should be noted that I believe this is only going to pertain to those companies which have BOI certification so I don't think we're looking at seeing online work permits being available for those smaller businesses that are not BOI certified. Moreover, those companies with Amity certification if they don't have BOI certification probably aren't going to be able to avail themselves of this unless they are otherwise eligible for so-called one-stop service center benefits. To check out what one-stop is, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and check.

There's another video on this channel specifically discusses the one-stop service center. The other thing is just because it can be done online does not mean the procedure you no longer have to go in. As noted in the article itself, there's still going to be two minimum two trips required in order to go get the work permit actually issued. So I think it's definitely a great step in the right direction and I think Thailand's making serious strides in making their immigration and work authorization apparatus for foreigners at least more convenient, a little bit more efficient. But I don't think one should look at this as a sign that we're going to see a radical departure from the process as it's been in the past. If anything, I think that this is just an example of just you know, one more step in the evolution of how this mechanism has evolved and I think moving forward yes, there's going to be certain individuals and companies that can avail themselves of these new conveniences. But for the smaller entities, the SMEs small and medium-sized enterprises especially those without BOI certification, I think it's pretty safe to assume that we're going to still be seeing our work permits being filed by paper at least for the foreseeable future.