Immigration to Thailand | All you need to know about immigration and work in Thailand

Are you interested Immigration to Thailand starting a new life there? When you move to Thailand, getting a visa can be overwhelming whether you want to work or if you plan to retire there. There is a lot of information available online, and some of it can be contradictory. Therefore, in this article, we have prepared for you your comprehensive guide to immigrating to Thailand, as it contains all the information you need to move, from obtaining a visa to finding work and settling as a citizen of Thailand.

facts about Thailand

  • The Kingdom of Thailand – formerly known as Siam – is located on the Gulf of Thailand in Southeast Asia and is the 20th most populous country in the world, with a population of 69 million people, with an average age of 74 years.
  • The tourism and service industry is an important part of the country’s economy, which has made many expats feel that Thailand is their home without any discrimination.
  • Thailand is known for its friendly and welcoming people to foreigners. The Thai smile is world famous which has earned Thailand the nickname “Land of Smiles”.

Useful and practical information about Thailand

  • Thai Baht (THB) is the official currency of Thailand.
  • Thai is the country’s official language. But it is worth noting that many Thais – especially those who work in the tourism sector – are fluent in English.
  • Buddhism accounts for about 94.6% of the religions present in Thailand, while Islam accounts for 4.6% and Christianity 0.7%.
  • Asian ethnicity is predominant in Thailand with Thais representing about 75% of the population while Chinese representing 14%, and 11% distributed among other ethnic groups.
  • Bangkok and Chiang Mai are the largest cities in Thailand.

Pros of immigrating to Thailand

With nearly 200 countries to choose from, you might be wondering: why should I choose Thailand over the rest of the countries to immigrate to?

From affordable delicious food and stable economic conditions to the laid-back nightlife in Bangkok, there are many reasons why you might want to immigrate to Thailand, here are some of them:

  • Despite its homogeneous culture, there is still an interesting variety of different societies and lifestyles within the country. Bangkok – Thailand’s capital and largest city – differs from other regions of the country including the north, north-east (Isan) and the south (near the Malaysian border), and at the same time all of these areas are culturally different from each other.
  • There are large expatriate communities in different parts of the country, and these communities help support each other, helping newcomers through newsletters, meetings, forums, etc.
  • Thailand has 102 national parks, including 21 marine parks, and contains some of the most beautiful beaches and coral reefs in the world.
  • Although prices in Thailand are constantly rising, Thailand is still an inexpensive place to live, especially if the expat chooses to live the Thai lifestyle. Thai food is inexpensive, tasty and world-famous, housing and local transportation are also inexpensive, and local products are reasonably priced compared to others in other countries.
  • Thai people are known for their hospitality and are known to go out of their way to help visitors.
  • Thailand is known for its world-class international hospitals. This can be a very important consideration, especially for retirees and seniors who want to visit Thailand. In fact, many people come to Thailand from all over the world just to get excellent and affordable healthcare.

Disadvantages of immigrating to Thailand

The following negatives are among the common complaints made by visitors and expats to Thailand. However, they do not necessarily apply to you, as these negatives may not be important to you:

  • Although Thailand is an affordable country to reside and settle in, this requires your lifestyle to be just like the Thais. Thai food and local produce are inexpensive, but expats who prefer to eat other types of food in restaurants that do not serve Thai food will need to save large sums of money for this. This is because everything that is imported is subject to Thailand’s strict customs tariff regime. So, if expats get used to non-Thai food, they will have to be prepared to pay the hefty price for it.
  • Expats are often expected to pay more than Thais for certain things. This includes things like entrance fees at many locations (parks, etc.).
  • Many expats often struggle with the cultural difference problem, as they may be unwilling to accept certain aspects of the cultural differences between Thais and foreigners. These include such things as the economic “laissez-faire”, which refers to the government leaving trade without interfering with it, as well as the relaxed and perhaps “lazy” business environment of many countries.
  • Thai bureaucracy can be overwhelming, and even basic procedures (such as obtaining work permits and retirement visas) can seem daunting to some expats.
  • The weather in Thailand is so hot and humid, this can be a blessing for some and a curse for others. Although it doesn’t rain every day in Thailand, the official rainy season lasts from mid-April to mid-November, and April and May are the hottest months of the year.
  • Thais can be outwardly friendly, but still quite aloof from culturally diverse individuals. Expats sometimes find it very difficult to get to know Thais and their families.
  • The country is prone to political instability and rapidly changing policies. This can affect the duration (and ease) of the immigrant’s stay in Thailand.

Immigration to Thailand: visas and job search

Thailand offers a variety of visas including transit visa, 30-day tourist visa, non-immigrant visa, diplomatic visa, official visa, and courtesy visa. The types of visas granted to people coming to Thailand can be summarized as follows:

1- Non-Immigrant Visa (OA) (Long Stay Visa)

  • Most popular for retirees, this visa is for expats over 50 years old who plan to stay up to one year, and do not intend to work in Thailand. 
  • This type of visa is renewable every year after completion. 
  • Eligibility requirements for this visa include no criminal record, and no underlying diseases (such as leprosy, tuberculosis, etc.).
  • Applicants for this visa are required to provide proof of income in addition to the usual paperwork (copies of passport, etc.). Proof of income can be a bank statement containing approximately $24,000 or proof of a monthly income of at least $1,800.

2- Nonimmigrant “B” Visa (Business and Work Visa)

  • It is the required visa for expats who plan to work in Thailand. 
  • There are several sub-categories of this type of visa such as: Business Class “B” Visa, Approved Business Class “BA”, Investment and Business Class “IB” and Teaching Class “B”.

3- Non-Immigrant Category “B” Visa (Business Visa)

  • In addition to the usual paperwork of passport copies, personal photos, application forms, etc., applicants for this visa need an approval letter from the Ministry of Labor.

The business owner usually assists in this process by providing appropriate forms and copies of company documents. This visa allows the applicant to stay in Thailand for 90 days. It can then be renewed for one year from the date of first entry into the country.

4- Non-immigrant visa “BA” (for businesses with permits)

  • Applicants for this visa will need the assistance of the company with which they have a business relationship. This visa allows the holder to stay in Thailand for one year.

5- IB Non-Immigrant Visa (Business and Investment Visa)

  • This visa is issued to foreigners who plan to work on investment projects under the auspices of the Board of Investment of Thailand (BOI). These investment projects include any projects that involve promoting exports of Thai goods, increasing employment opportunities for the Thai people, and encouraging investment in technology.

6- Non-Immigrant Category “B” (Teaching Visa) 

  • This is a visa for expatriates who wish to teach in pre-university schools in Thailand. In addition to providing proof of educational qualifications (for example, diplomas and/or teaching certificates), applicants for this visa need to provide a letter of acceptance from the school they will be working in in Thailand, as well as acceptance letters from government agencies such as the Office of Special Education and the Education Commission. basic.

7- Visa for family members

  • Family members of foreigners working in Thailand can apply for a non-immigrant visa category “O” which allows them to stay for no more than one year.

Note about changing visa types:

Foreigners residing in Thailand who hold a transit visa or a tourist visa if they decide they want to work in Thailand can apply for a change of visa type at the immigration office. This change of visa or extension of stay is at the discretion of the immigration officer.

In addition to obtaining the correct visa, expats who wish to work in Thailand must also obtain a work permit from the Foreign Workers Administration Office, Employment Department, and the Ministry of Labor. Anyone working in Thailand is also required to pay income tax to the government.

Invest in Thailand

If you are seeking to immigrate to Thailand in order to invest and start your own business, you need to follow the following basic steps:

  • Reserve a company name on  the Thai Ministry of Business Development website .
  • After the company is approved, a legal meeting is held, where the directors of the newly registered company ask the promoters and subscribers to provide 25% of the registered capital, which is deposited in a bank account. Additionally, although it is not mandatory – most Thai companies have their own corporate seal.
  • After that, it is necessary to obtain approval of the Articles of Association and to register the new company as a legal entity.
  • If employees are hired by the company, the employer must establish rules and regulations written in Thai that comply with the amendments to the Labor Protection Act.
  • The employer must also register employees for social security at the Social Security Office of the Ministry of Labor.
  • The registration of the new company must take place within three months from the day of the legal meeting, as there are two registrations required: the registration of a memorandum and the registration of the company and both can be done on the same day.
  • In addition to the application form, the following forms must also be submitted:
    • List of contributors.
    • Business operation advertisement template.
    • Company registration list.
    • A certified copy of the notice and minutes of the legal meeting.
    • Receipt of capital payment (at least 25%) by all subscribers.
    • Company name reservation form.
    • Company registration certificate.
    • In addition to maps showing the locations of the head office and any branch offices of the company.
  • Some documents must be signed under the supervision of an organization responsible for company registration, a lawyer, or a recognized auditor from an organization responsible for company registration.

Thus, we have provided you, dear reader, with everything you need to know before deciding to immigrate to Thailand, whether to work, invest or settle and live there. If you have any experience in this wonderful country, leave it to us in the comments. Also, do not forget to subscribe to the site to receive all new and interesting articles.

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