Do Expatriates Married to Thai Nationals Require A Work Permit?

Do Expatriates Married to Thai Nationals Require A Work Permit?

Table of Contents

Introduction

For individuals who have married Thai nationals, the barriers to obtaining a work permit are significantly reduced when compared to others. However, understanding the intricacies and requirements for obtaining a work permit is crucial for legal employment in the country.

In this article, we will offer a detailed overview of work permits in Thailand, focused specifically on foreign nationals married to Thai citizens.

Key Points

  • Work permits are a mandatory requirement for all foreigners working in Thailand; working without a valid work permit is illegal.
  • Foreigners married to Thai nationals enjoy certain benefits when applying for a work permit, including reduced capital requirements and Thai employee quotas when employed by a Thai company.
  • Being married to a Thai citizen does not exempt foreign individuals from the requirement of obtaining a work permit.
  • Marriage visa holders (Non-Immigrant O) can apply for a work permit without changing their visa type to a work visa (Non-Immigrant B).

Do Foreigners Married to Thai Nationals Require a Work Permit?

In Thailand, foreigners who are married to a Thai national and hold a valid Non-Immigrant O (marriage) visa must obtain a work permit to work in Thailand. While marrying a Thai citizen provides certain benefits and options, it does not exempt foreign individuals from the requirement of getting a work permit. 

However, it is important to note foreigners who are married to a Thai national are not required to change their visa type from a Non-Immigrant O to a Non-Immigrant B visa. Typically, when applying for a work permit, foreigners are required to obtain a Non-Immigrant B visa, but the marriage visa permits employment, so this is not the case. 

Please note that Long Term Residency visa holders are eligible to apply for a Digital Work Permit under their respective LTR categories. Therefore, they are also not required to change their visa to the Non-Immigrant B visa.

What are the Advantages for a Foreigner Married to a Thai National Concerning Work Permits?

Foreign individuals married to a Thai national are eligible for a Non-Immigrant O visa. This visa grants the foreign spouse the right to reside in Thailand for the duration of the visa, and it’s not dependent upon employment.

Initially, Non-Immigrant O visas are issued for 90 days and can be extended for up to one year. The key advantage of this visa type lies in the fact that there’s no set limit on the number of extensions that can be granted to the foreign spouse. If the foreign spouse can continue to satisfy the application criteria, they can remain in Thailand indefinitely.

This greatly contrasts with those holding a Non-Immigrant B (work) visa, which is directly tied to their employment status. If a person with a Non-Immigrant B visa loses their job, they must leave Thailand promptly, typically within 7 days.

Are there any Advantages for Companies when Hiring a Foreigner Married to a Thai National?

For a Thai company to be able to support a work permit for a foreign employee, they must satisfy the following criteria for each work permit:

  • Employ at least 4 Thai staff
  • have at least 2 Million THB in registered capital. 
  • be registered with the Social Security Office and have paid tax contributions for the Thai staff for at least 3 months.

However, the requirements for a company to support each work permit for a foreign employee married to a Thai national are significantly reduced:

  • employ at least 2 Thai staff
  • have at least 1 Million THB in registered capital 
  • be registered with the Social Security Office and have paid tax contributions for the Thai staff for at least 3 months.

Please note the quotas above apply to each individual work permit. For example, should a company employ 2 foreign employees, they would require 8 Thai employees (4 if both foreigners are married to Thai nationals) and 4 million THB (2 million if both foreigners are married to Thai nationals) in registered capital.

Our Thoughts

Being married to a Thai national offers significant advantages regarding work permits in Thailand for both the spouse and their prospective employer. The flexibility of the Non-Immigrant O visa allows the foreign spouse to live in Thailand independently of employment status and provides the employer with reduced requirements for supporting their work permit. Removing the need to be employed, reduced requirements for supporting a work permit should they wish to work, and the potential for a long-term stay create a stable and secure environment, both personally and professionally.

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