Is a visa as well as a work permit necessary?
Yes. All foreign employees are required to have a work permit that specifies the location of their employment and the period of time they are allowed to work. An applicant must have a non-immigrant visa or a residence permit prior to applying for a work permit. A non-immigrant visa can be obtained from a Thai consulate or embassy outside of Thailand by providing the following documents: the new company's registration certificates, the duly certified company stamp, proof of a lease on a business premises, and a letter from the company confirming employment. (From a consulate or embassy in a western country all of this paperwork may not be necessary. However, after the attacks of 9/11 many consulates have begun to more strictly follow official rules. Furthermore, small, start-up companies may be required to provide more documents than larger, well established businesses who may only need to provide a letter of employment.)
How do I get a work permit?
After receiving a non-immigrant visa a foreigner can apply for a work visa from a consulate or embassy outside of Thailand or from within Thailand. If applying from outside of Thailand then the application may be submitted from abroad, but the applicant must appear at the Department of Labor to sign the work permit. Within Thailand a foreigner can get an extension of his non-immigrant visa and can apply for a work permit with the Department of Labor after the company is properly registered.
Are there any other requirements for obtaining a work permit?
In order to hire foreign employees a foreign business is required to prove one of the following five requirements:
1) Capital of 2,000,000 baht (approx. 46,000$ USD) for each foreign work employee,
2) 3,000,0000 baht in taxes paid annually by the company,
3) 3,000,0000 baht in annual exports by the company,
4) taxes paid by each foreign employee of at least 18,000 baht per year, or fifty (50) Thai citizens employed per each foreign employee.
(It should be noted that The Labor Department may determine the minimum number of Thai employees a business must hire after reviewing an application for registration of a business. Different types of companies have different requirements. Normally on an initial application, companies should show at least six Thai employees until they receive specific directions from the Labor Department indicating a different number. This requirement is separate to the number of employees necessary for obtaining foreign work permits.)
Is there any way to have work permits processed more expediently?
Yes. Work Permits and visa extensions can be acquired in three hours at the One Stop Service Center assuming all applicants are qualified, necessary documents are provided, and applications are complete and accurate. In order to qualify a business must either have a specified amount of minimum capital or assets or be promoted by the BOI.