New law aims to crack down on work permit abuses

6 Jul 17

THAILAND

 

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Employers are required under a new law to notify authorities within seven days of the end of a work permit holder’s employment.

What does the change mean? The requirement is part of a broader immigration law that targets work permit abuse. Additional provisions targeting employers and employees for work that is not permitted, activities that are not covered in employees’ work permit booklets and work that is done without a valid permit will be enforced starting Jan. 1.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The notification requirement took immediate effect, but the government will delay enforcing other portions of the law until Jan. 1 to give employers time to comply.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals working in Thailand.
  • Business impact: The law adds a new notification requirement at the end of a work permit holder’s employment. Businesses should also take note that Thailand is moving to increase the penalties for employers and employees who misuse their work authorization.

Background: Though the Emergency Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners B.E. 2560 (2017) primarily targets abuse of migrant workers and human trafficking, most of the law’s provisions will apply to all foreign workers.

Among key changes:

  1. Employers must notify authorities within seven days of an employee’s termination or departure from the employer’s company. Failure to properly notify authorities when an employment relationship ends will result in fines of up to 100,000 baht (about US$2,930). This requirement took immediate effect.
  2. Employers and employees alike will face steep fines in cases where work permit holders are found to have engaged in work on prohibited lists. Employers will face fines of between 400,000 and 800,000 baht per employee for these violations, while employees will face fines ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 baht. This change will be enforced Jan. 1.
  3. Employers and employees will also face fines for conducting work activities other than those that are permitted in the employee’s work permit booklet. Employers will face fines of up to 400,000 baht per employee for these violations, while employees will face fines of up to 100,000 baht. This change will be enforced Jan. 1.
  4. Employers and employees will both face stiff penalties in cases where an employee is working without a valid work permit. Employers will face fines of between 400,000 and 800,000 baht per employee for these violations, while employees could face up to five years’ imprisonment, fines ranging from 2,000 to 100,000 baht, or both. This change will not enforced Jan. 1.

BAL Analysis: While some of the law’s provisions will not be enforced until the new year, employers are encouraged to take steps as soon as possible to make sure that foreign employees’ activities are permissible under Thai law and the terms of the employee’s work permit. Employers should further note that the notification requirements for when an employment relationship ends have taken immediate effect and should make sure that internal procedures are adjusted to ensure compliance. Those with questions should contact BAL.  

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Thailand. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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