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Passive Owners and Directors of Amity Treaty Companies in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing so-called passive owners or directors of Amity Companies in Thailand.

What are we talking about here?  Well there is a big difference between an owner/operator of an Amity Company and someone who is for example a shareholder of a Thai Amity Company or a Director of a Thai Amity Company. It should be noted Amity Companies are provided national treatment pursuant to the provisions of the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. That treaty basically allows Americans, notwithstanding the provisions of the Foreign Business Act here in Thailand, it allows Americans to own their own businesses notwithstanding other nationalities have to maintain 49/51% in some cases or need to obtain things like a Foreign Business License or a Foreign Business Certificate from the Board of Investment here in Thailand. The Amity Treaty allows Americans the opportunity to own their companies basically outright with no need for Thai shareholders and that is pursuant the national treatment provisions of the Treaty itself. 

So the thing to take away from this video is we are talking more about visas and work permits as well as just kind of general observations about passive directors and owners of Amity Treaty Companies. What we are talking about here are shareholders who may not actively be working for the company, Directors who may not be actively working for the company and by working I mean conducting work; day-to-day business. 

Now Thai Labor Authorities have relaxed a lot of the rules compared to times past with respect to what the definition of work is here in the Kingdom of Thailand. In the past, a very strict interpretation was taken wherein it was dictated that perhaps even attending a shareholder meeting or signing documentation pertaining to the company in one's capacity as a director was deemed to be work. Under recent changes to the Labor Laws, it appears that those restrictions have been relaxed so those that come to Thailand strictly for things like business meetings, presumably shareholder meetings or Directors meetings and even when documentation may be signed, that activity is not necessarily deemed to be work.  That is a good upside. That provides some flexibility depending on the type of company it is.

A fair few people have asked me over the years "What about those of us who work for the Company or are passively involved with the Company but we want to maintain Visa status?" Well if you are not working for the Company and seeking a work permit within that company, it is going to be very hard to maintain long-term lawful status, presumably in Business Visa status, based solely on involvement with the company. In order to attain that status, one needs to go ahead and obtain a Work Permit and they need to go ahead and obtain a Visa that will be issued pursuant to the terms of that Work Permit in order to maintain their status.

So, in my opinion, moving forward or at any point frankly, yes passive owners can provide some operational guidance with respect to their Amity Treaty Company but if they are looking to use it as a basis for maintaining lawful immigration status here in the Kingdom then they need to go ahead and actively be working for the company and maintain a work permit within the confines of their occupation within the company.