April 2, 2015

After having implemented several changes in the beginning of this year which increased the burden on companies sponsoring foreign nationals (see our blogs from January 13 and January 26), the Thai authorities in March announced two changes which will benefit sponsoring companies and their foreign employees.

Expansion of Definition Business Activities

Last month the Department of Employment of Thailand announced that several activities previously requiring a work permit will be considered work permit exempt going forward:

• Attending a conference or seminar, gathering information;
• Attending an exhibition or trade show as visitor;
• Attending discussion style businesses meetings;
• Attending special lectures and educational forums as audience;
• Attending lectures for training and technical seminars, as audience;
• Buying products at a trade show;
• Attending a board or directors meeting within someone’s own company.

While previously requiring a normal work permit or work permit to perform urgent duty (also sometimes referred to as 15-day work permit), these activities now can be carried out on just a business visa (non-immigrant B visa). This new definition of business activities is more in line with regulations in most countries regarding these types of activities.

Readers should note, however,  that presenting at a lecture, forum, training or seminar, or exhibiting at a trade show still requires work authorization, as does on the job training.

Your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist can advise you on a case by case basis if planned activities will fall under the extended definition of business activities or do still require work authorization.

Online Filing of 90-Day Registration

In addition, the Immigration Bureau has introduced a new method of filing the required 90-day registration for foreign nationals. This 90-day registration is required for every foreigner who has received a temporary stay permit and stayed in Thailand over 90 days. Moreover, the registration needs to be carried out every 90 days. However, if someone leaves Thailand anytime during a 90-day period the count will reset to 1 upon the day of return to Thailand.

Previously this 90-day registration needed to be carried out either in person or by an authorized representative at the nearest Immigration Office or branch office in the residence area of the applicant, or by registered mail. The original passport was required for this. Effective immediately, the 90-day registration can now also be carried out online. Once the application has been submitted it can take up to 7 days to be processed. The status of the application can be checked online and once the application has been approved applicants should print out the receipt of the notification and keep this with their passport at all times.

It should be noted that the online 90-day registration can only be submitted between 15 and 7 days before the due date of registration (the 90-day mark). As an example: if the 90-day mark falls on 27 April 2015 then the registration can be filed online from 13 until 20 April, both dates inclusive. If the application has not been filed online within this time period the registration can still be carried out in the old way at the Immigration Office until latest 7 days after the 90-day mark.

Pro-Link GLOBAL can assist with the 90-day registration, either online or in person.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.

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