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Thai Law Insights

Work Permits for foreigners attending meetings in Thailand: New changes in the law!

Panorn Wangtrakul

panornw@csbc-law.com

The Emergency Decree on Foreign Employment Administration of 2018 (No.2) (“Work Permit Law as amended”) came into effect 28 March 2018, amending certain provisions in the Emergency Decree on Foreign Employment Administration of 2017 (“Work Permit Law”). One of the salient issues is that any foreigner entering into Thailand to organize or attend any meeting or share any opinion or give a lecture or demonstration at any meeting or training or; aiming a visit or participating in a seminar are now no longer required to have a Thai Work Permit for such purposes.

According to our research, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (“TCEB”), a Thai public organization established by law to promote MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Convention and Exhibition), a growing industry contributing significantly to Thailand’s tourism industry; played a leading role in supporting this new amendment.

However, even though the amendment has passed, we still await additional guidance as there is no subordinate law in the form of a Notification of the Prime Minister’s Office to set forth the details of how the amendment will actually be applied.

We’ll have to wait for the Notification to see exactly what criteria must be met to qualify for an exclusion to the Thai Work Permit rules.

As the present Thai law now stands for years (apart from the main Work Permit Law), when foreigners enter Thailand for the purpose of attending governmental functions for a period of no more than 30 days, they are exempt from the work permit application process provided in the Royal Decree (No. 2) issued in 1985; Decree Governing Aliens Engaging in Duties in Thailand Excluded from the Foreign Employment Act of 1978.