rights of aliens in Thailand are derived primarily from Thai
domestic law, although international law and bilateral treaties
impose on Thailand certain obligations toward resident aliens.
Generally, aliens have the same basic rights as Thai nationals,
unless a right is explicitly reserved for nationals or denied
to or restricted to aliens.
on the percentage of alien ownership for commercial banks, commercial
fishing, aircraft, commercial transportation, commodity export,
mining and other enterprises exist under various laws.
The Alien Business Law
most important law governing alien-controlled businesses in
Thailand is the Alien Business Law (National Executive Council
Announcement No. 281) of 1972. Before the introduction of the
Alien Business Law in 1972, foreigners were generally permitted
to do business in Thailand with few restrictions. The Foreign
Business Act divided various types of business into three main
categories and subjected each category to different limitations
with respect to foreign ownership. Other laws control the foreign
ownership of land and specialized activities such as banking,
insurance, finance and shipping.
1999, a new Act was passed which replaces the earlier Alien
Business Law. The new Act is entitled The Foreign Business Act,
B.E. 2542 (1999). In some areas, the new Act has liberalized
the areas in which a foreigner may to do business in Thailand.
However, the Act also appears to be more restrictive in other
Categories The Foreign Business Act divides businesses into three Categories.
Generally, those businesses listed in Category One are absolutely
prohibited to foreigners unless there is an exception contained
in a special law or treaty.
Two refers to businesses owned by aliens that were in existence
and actually operating prior to the enactment of the Foreign
Business law. These businesses were permitted to apply for a
special Alien Business License and to continue operating. Foreigners,
however, are not permitted to start new businesses listed in
this category unless they obtain special permission from the
Minister with the approval of the Cabinet.