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Thai Work Permit Rule Changes and Amity Treaty Companies

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing work permits a little bit further and in the specific context of the US -Thai Treaty of Amity.

I have seen some speculation on line throughout social media platforms and on the internet, sort of generally, which has basically been pontificating the notion of the lack of need for a work permit on an Amity Treaty Company and the logic chain behind this seems to be based on the notion that Amity Treaty Companies do not need a work permit because there apparently are certain new parts of the emergency decrees on managing of foreign workers in the Kingdom that pertain to foreign owned businesses in the Kingdom, specifically things like representative offices. Apparently there are some exemptions although I am still wrapping my head around it in a professional capacity as to where work permits are necessary and where they are not. But that being said, there is a line of logic which stipulates, based on regulatory drafts as they've come out or regulatory changes in fact, I mean enactments, as they have come out, that would stipulate that if a Company is wholly foreign-owned, or BOI certified, or a representative office, there may be an exemption for the need to have a work permit at all.          

First things first. I think that may be in fact the case but as of yet, I have  yet to see them change the rules with immigration regarding visa extensions and business visa extension applications currently require a work permit as part of the documentation in order to extend a classic B Visa if you will; there are certain B visas that may fall under the BOI exemptions, specifically things like the Smart Visa as created earlier this year which may not require a work permit, although there is a work authorization component to that. That being said, as it pertains to “Amity” I think the logic may be somewhat flawed and the reason is it would seem that foreign ownership is the issue with respect to the possible exemption for a work permit. With an Amity Company, the Amity Company is by definition under the provisions of the treaty given "National Treatment" so it is not actually even treated like a foreign company as I read the treaty. So a company that has been certified as an American Company or an American-owned company in Thailand and it has been certified and gone through the process of certification that company is to be given "National treatment" pursuant to Thai Law which means it is supposed to be treated like a Thai company. So where does that leave us? I mean the logic behind this work permit exemption seems to be based on "if it is a foreign-owned company." Well I guess it is foreign owned in one sense but pursuant to the terms of the treaty itself, the legal fiction is created under the terms of the treaty, that that company is given National treatment so presumably and the way I have always dealt with it having dealt with Amity companies for some period of time, Thai Law treated it as if it was just another Thai company. Again it is a legal fiction but it is a legal fiction created by the provisions of the treaty.

So how that is going to play out remains to be seen. I wouldn't hold my breath just yet with respect to exemption from work permit rules simply because a company is Amity Treaty certified, but again I could find out tomorrow after the taping of this video that I was in fact mistaken or that there is in fact a change with respect to the law. As I read it, I think that Thai Amity companies are treated just like Thai companies and a Thai company in a similar set of circumstances has to get a work permit for those working within the company. That being said, there may be an exception made here. 

One final thing, and I didn't quite get to it in a point before this exemption from work permits in my opinion, just based on sort of the spirit of the law as I am reading it, I think it is pretty much more meant for temporary stayers in the Kingdom. Those who are maybe a Director but who don’t live full time in the Kingdom but they come in and maybe have to go to a meeting once in a while or sign off on something for the company. Those folks may in fact be exempted from the work permit requirements but as stated previously, I haven't seen anything, at least processing visa extensions over these past few weeks that lead me to believe that there is any massive change with respect to work permits requirements on the horizon.

So what does that mean? Well that means what permits may not necessarily be required but if one wants to go ahead and get a long-term visa for Thailand, AKA a visa extension, it might still be required to go ahead and get a work permit.   However the finality on those rules remains to be seen if there is a change or if I in fact need to be corrected we'll do another video on this channel and I'll update you accordingly.