Have a question about obtaining a work permit or visa? Check out the questions below; chances are we've got your query covered! If not you can submit a question to us.

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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.


Should I trust my employer with my passport if they need it for certain processes?

There will probably come a time when your employer needs to show your original passport as part of the visa / work permit process, etc and photocopies won't suffice.

If at all possible, ask if you can accompany the school staff on these processing trips. In other words, don't let your passport out of your sight.

There have certainly been instances of school admin staff losing passports and while it isn't the end of the world, it can be a real hassle and inconvenience to get a passport replaced.

Asking to accompany the school staff on a processing trip is certainly not an unreasonable request.  


Can a visa and work permit be transferred to another job?

Technically, the answer is no.

If a teacher leaves a job for whatever reason, they need to hand back the work permit to the labor department and the visa that goes with that work permit becomes null and void.

You then have to leave the country (usually within 7 days) to obtain a new visa at a Thai embassy or consulate in a neighboring country.

However, there are rarely any black and white answers in Thailand, and some teachers (probably very few I might add) have had success transferring the visa but not the work permit, while others have had success transferring both work permit and visa due to the fact that the paperwork for the new job was completed in time (before the end of the first contract)

If that doesn't sound like a straight answer, then that's because it isn't one. This is another one of those situations where as the teacher, you need to rely on both your past and previous employers to get all their ducks in a row.

It rarely happens that way in truth - so be prepared to leave the country for a visa run.


What happens if I break a one-year contract?

Well, the school will be pissed off for a start (unless you're an awful teacher and they can't wait to see the back of you).

In addition to that, you will probably be required to reimburse the school for the costs of work permit, teacher's license, admin staff's shoe leather, etc, etc. You can expect to cough up something in the region of 5,000 baht. 

More importantly, once you quit a job, your work permit and one-year visa are null and void. You now have 7 days to leave the country and get a new visa.

Make sure that you keep tabs on exactly when the school hands back your work permit to the labor department, because that's when the 7-day clock starts ticking. I've heard numerous stories of schools failing to tell the teacher that they've already cancelled the work permit and the teacher suddenly staring at a hefty overstay fine.

Needless to say, breaking a contract is something you really should avoid doing if at all possible.

Paully also adds the following - In addition to the advice already given, remember that if your written employment contract has a notice period clause in it (as is common), for example, allowing your employer or you to terminate the contract on one month's written notice to the other party, you are NOT breaking your contract by giving your employer one month's written notice of leaving.

You are terminating your contract by agreement. This is as valid in Thai law as in US or UK law.

Your employer may still be pissed off, but there's nothing in law he can do about it other than try to hold up your application for a new work permit.

Keep a copy of your letter of notice and contact the Ministry of Labour if your old employer refuses to give you the Min of Labour a release form (Tor Dor 11) agreeing to your leaving and allowing you to get a new work permit.

Update from a teacher regarding the '7-day rule'

In my case, the employer wrote on whatever form it was that they presented to the Labour Department that my last date of employment was 12 June.

They actually notified the Labour Department on 14 June and subsequently notified Immigration on 15 June. Immigration gave me until 18 June (ie, the clock started ticking the first second into 12 June) to leave the country.

I was expecting a date of 21st June, so this was a bit of a surprise, but not a problem.


Is there a limit to the number of work permits if you keep changing schools in Thailand?

No, there is no limit on either work permits or the number of non-B visas you can have.  There is only a limit (officially) on the number of teaching licence waivers, but many teachers have managed to work for years using these waivers. 


What are my options if work permit is denied because my middle name isn't on my degree?

Several readers have suggested paying a visit to your embassy in Thailand and getting a sworn affidavit. It certainly worked for them when they were faced with the same situation of the name on their degree not quite matching the name in their passport.

Please note though that the British Embassy in Thailand no longer provides this service. 


What does a Thai medical check entail to get a work permit processed?

Ask ten different teachers and you'll hear ten different experiences. Some teachers will go to local clinics, pay about 50 baht for the medical check, be in and out in ten minutes and the doctor won't even pick up a stethoscope in anger.

Others will go to a proper hospital, pay anything up to 700 baht and actually be required to give a blood sample and answer a few questions. Conclusion? It all depends where you go. But the end result - obtaining the medical certificate - is the same. Getting a medical certificate is not a big deal at all.


Does a medical examination include an HIV test?

I am HIV positive and have been offered a teaching job in Bangkok. I am worried my status will be an issue. I was hoping to not disclose my status to my employer and I receive medical treatment in the UK and will continue to do so even if I leave. Is this medical examination the same one for the work permit or is this something different?

We put this question out on social media and here are some of the responses.

"My medical examination includes HIV tests for a work permit"

"I was told by a doctor that it's illegal to discriminate/test for HIV here unless you have a high risk job. Could be a different story in reality though"

 "My medicals for work permits have never asked for hiv tests"   

Several teachers all remarked that the medical test only checks for syphilis.    

In conclusion, yet another one of those infamous Thai grey areas.   


Is it usual for a school to ask for a month probation without a work permit

"The school has asked me to work a one-month probation period and then they will assist with the documents for a b visa and work permit. I am currently on a tourist visa and I am very worried that I will get into trouble. Should I have the correct visa and work permit before starting the job?"

It's certainly not unusual. Billy Weaver had the following to say on the ajarn Facebook page - In my experience, it takes many schools that long to even get the paperwork together. They dont want to give you a work permit if you prove to not be the teacher they are looking for. so it takes them time. If you have any problems then you generally have immigration or whoever call the school. That's in my experience.


Showing 10 questions out of 45 total

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