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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawThai Labor Department Officials Discuss Foreign Accountants

Thai Labor Department Officials Discuss Foreign Accountants

Transcript of the above video:

As the title to this video suggests we are discussing recent provisions to allow foreign accountants possibly being allowed to ply their trade here in the Kingdom.

In a recent article from The Straits Times, that's straitstimes.com, the title being “The Thai Ministry to Review Nod for Skilled Foreigners”. Quoting directly "Under pressure from domestic councils representing Engineers, Architects and Accountants, Thailand’s Labour Ministry will review a recommendation that the country open up skilled labor market to Engineers, Architects and Accountants from other countries as required under an ASEAN agreement signed in 2001”. So before I quote further, the thing to keep in mind with this is it primarily pertains to the member states or the Nationals thereof within the ASEAN Community. Labour Minister Adul Saengsingkaew said the country's ASEAN commitment is conditional upon compliance with domestic regulations governing each of the three professions. So there are local professional associations which govern these professions and notwithstanding the provisions under the ASEAN agreements, you still have to deal with being certified under those Associations. Quoting further,” Thailand's Council of Engineers, the Architects Council and the Federation of Accounting Professions have voiced opposition. All three professional groupings on Friday, June 1 submitted their arguments against the move to the Labor Ministry. All three bodies have argued that there was no shortage of these skilled workers in Thailand with new graduates joining the labor market every year. According to the Federation of Accounting Professions, Thai accountants would be disadvantaged if the domestic market is opened up to foreigners. Vice Chairman of the Federation said Thailand currently has about 10,000 auditors and another 60,000 professional accountants; more than enough to cover the total number of companies registered in Thailand that are required to use their professional services. Anurak Tossarat, Director General of the Department of Employment said that all foreign skilled workers need to apply for licenses from Thai professional bodies before they can work here. And I urge those who are watching this video to go and check that article out in detail as there is a lot more information in there; I am simply discussing the issue of accountants in Thailand.

A bit of a commentary here, again as noted in the article under ASEAN or the ASEAN agreement, the overall framework of ASEAN, it was stipulated that there would be professions that would have more free movement within the ASEAN block. Accountants were one of those professions. As noted, I think domestically first of all individuals who come from outside the Kingdom to engage in the profession of accounting presumably would need to go ahead and pass the requisite exams associated with the type of accounting they wanted to undertake. I would think that with respect to those exams, I believe that they are probably going to be in the Thai language, although I can't say that for certain. and if they are that would probably preclude a large number of people from taking such exams and moreover it doesn't seem like it is a foregone conclusion that we are going to see that particular profession opened up to intra-ASEAN competition any time in the near future.