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Will There Be a Cap Placed on Work Permits in Thailand?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title to this video suggests, we're going to be discussing Thai work permits specifically Thai Labor Authorization. There have been some recent developments here in the Kingdom; some recent news that has come out specifically on the issue of labor authorization that I thought was rather interesting.

In a recent article May 7th, in the Bangkok Post, the headline is: Foreign Labor Cap Set at 20% Under New Law. Quoting directly "A new law to take effect on July 1st will cap the number of migrant workers which companies and industries can hire at 20% to protect Thai laborers as the Government moves to free up skill shortages in some areas while also ensuring foreigners do not force Thais out of work. Section 11 of the Act says the Department of Employment will compile job-seeking registration from all Thai Nationals who wish to work. Employers who wish to employ foreign workers despite the availability of Thai job seekers, who are capable of doing the same job, must cap their foreign employment at only 20% of total staff. If the number of workers exceeds five, special fees will be levied if firms wish to exceed the 20% limit. Currently migrant workers are banned from working in 39 occupations under a 1979 Royal Decree relating to occupations and professions which bans foreigners in such roles". Those who are interested in this, I strongly recommend you to check out this article; again Bangkok Post title, the headline Foreign Labor Cap Set at 20% Under New Law. May 7th, 2018. 

What does this mean? Well first of all it is my understanding that this pertains to migrant labor, we are talking I think manual labor. That being said, how the provisions of this law will ultimately be promulgated, or how the provisions of this bill will ultimately be promulgated remain to be seen. It is my general default position that when they make rules such as these, they are going to be written in such a way that although maybe they were initially intended for a narrow subset of foreign labor in the Kingdom, they will ultimately have rather broader implications for the wider set of foreign labor here in the country.

So I think it is very prudent to assume that we can see this framework have implications for foreign nationals from Western nations etc. who are trying to work here in the Kingdom. It is rather interesting the framework they're setting up because it reminds me a little of the H1(b) regulations associated with those who are going to the United States to take up certain sort of skilled labor positions within the United States of America as there a certain labor certification requirements from the Department of Labor in the United States which basically, it needs to be certified that the foreign worker coming in is not basically supplanting an American worker who is available and willing to do the same type of work. Here they are using a database system where they're going to basically compile a database of Thais who are essentially looking for similar work and those who are seeking to hire foreign labor in order to supplant those Thai laborers will be sort of, there will be fines associated with that, there will be fees associated with that and there will be cap associated with that.

Again how this works in the broader spectrum of labor here in the Kingdom, it remains to be seen. I do think that those who currently own their own small businesses or act as Directors on companies, it is probably not going to have substantial ramifications, at least not in the near term, to those kind of folks but those who are on a work permit with a specific job title it may be a problem because there may be these new regulations with respect to creating this database to provide for preference treatment for Thai workers which could result in the employer being fined for usage  of foreign labor in that set of  circumstances.