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How long can a teacher stay in Thailand after they cancel a work permit?

What should officially happen when a teacher quits a job and hands the work permit back to the employer is that both teacher and employer should go to the immigration department and inform the officer that the teacher has terminated his / her employment.

The officer will then cancel the teacher's visa and the teacher has 24 hours to leave the country. However there are many 'ifs' and 'buts'. If the teacher needs to organise transportation out of the country, etc, - as is often the case - they can ask the immigration officer for a 7-day visa extension (at a cost)

In reality, when many teachers quit their jobs, their employer simply can't be bothered to go and do the right thing at the immigration office and the teacher ends up staying in Thailand for the remaining period that their visa allows. 

This is something of a risky game to play because if you, the teacher, are stopped by police for a passport spot-check, you no longer have a work permit to support the visa in your passport.

My advice - do the right thing. Get a one-week extension and then leave the country.   


How can I make sure that leaving a job goes smoothly in terms of handing back the work permit?

Firstly, this is by and large the employer's responsibilty and not the teacher's.

You need to liaise with your school's admin person and tell them that you are leaving (hopefully you gave them 30 days notice) and discuss this issue.

Ask the employer to inform you as soon as your work permit has been cancelled and returned to the labor department. You must ensure that this procedure has been carried out or else getting your new work permit for the next job could be a problem.

Years ago, it was the responsibilty of the employer to give the teacher a chit to show that the permit had been cancelled but that's no longer the case. Therefore the current system is open to all sorts of administrative procrastination if your school is that way inclined.  


I have a criminal record having spent a very short time in prison. Could this be problematic?

It's actually not a requirement to bring a criminal background check document (CBC) to Thailand, although some employers may ask to see one. 

The vast majority of employers have realised that generally teachers arrive in Thailand without the CBC and getting one from their own country or state is just too time-consuming and too much hassle.

The real problems can occur though when a teacher goes to a Thai embassy or consulate in a neighboring Asian country to apply for a non-immigrant B visa on the basis of obtaining work as a teacher. At some embassies and consulates, they will ask to see a CBC. Not all of them but some.

Getting yourself a CBC while you are in your own country is always a wise idea. There's every chance you won't need to show it but always be prepared for a first time.

The fact that you've been in prison for the crime committed (information withheld) won't matter.   


Do schools contact the authorities in your home country about a criminal record?

No. It's the responsibility of the teacher to provide criminal background checks to the employer (if required)

Most school admin departments wouldn't have the first clue how to go about the process anyway,


Do I have to return to my own country to obtain a work visa?

Firstly, there is no such thing as a work visa in Thailand. You mean a non-immigrant B visa, which allows you to apply for a teacher's licence, etc.

Many people take the option of returning to their home country because non-immigrant B visas can be more difficult to obtain in the Asian countries bordering Thailand, especially if you don't have the correct paperwork.


Can I get a visa to do substitution work at different schools?

Firstly, there isn't a lot of demand in Thailand for some kind of substitute teacher who flits between different schools perhaps covering for absent teachers, etc. In truth, there never has been a demand for this sort of position.

Maybe one or two of the larger private language schools who supply teachers to Thai secondary schools might sometimes have a vacancy for a supply teacher, but you would still be classed as a 'full-time' teacher for that particular private language school (agent)

The thing is you still need a work permit to do this type of work so technically you need a non-immigrant B visa in order to start the work permit process.

Visas don't entitle you to work legally (there is no such thing as a 'work visa' in Thailand) To work legally, you still need a work permit. And it would be nigh on impossible to get a work permit as a substitute teacher working for several different employers. 


What paperwork should I bring with me to Thailand?

You should ideally bring your original degree certificate and originals of any transcripts. And also a criminal background check if you can get one (although these seem to be less and less of a requirement as time goes by)

Don't fret about how many copies of each document you need to bring. It's not as though Thailand doesn't have photocopiers (as some people seem to think!)


Can I convert a tourist visa into a non-immigrant B without leaving Thailand?

Yes, this can be done if you are a teacher with a guaranteed job offer but surprise! surprise! there is a certain amount of hassle involved.

A lot of the responsibility rests with your employer, who will need your paperwork in order to apply for a letter from the Thai Ministry of Education. This letter can take anything from 3-6 weeks to obtain.

Because of the hassle involved, many employers take the easy option of asking the teacher to go to a neighboring country such as Laos or Malaysia and apply for a new non-immigrant B visa from a Thai consulate or embassy in that country.


Can you get a work permit without a degree?

This is one of those 'ask ten different people and you'll get ten different answers' type questions. There are a lot of those in Thailand trust me.

Although the official line is 'no you can't get a work permit without a degree' there are plenty of examples of agencies managing to get one for their teaching staff and in some cases, teachers at government schools out in the sticks have had no problem at all.

As in most cases, it can depend on contacts and being in the right place at the right time. If you're looking for some hard, fast rule that applies 100% of the time - forget it. This is Thailand.


Who should pay for the work permit - employer or employee?

There is no rule or law stating who is responsible for payment. Sometimes it's the employee that forks out but in most cases it's the employer.


Showing 10 questions out of 45 total

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