Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Working legally in Thailand

Working in Thailand

Sometimes people ask me -
"Hi, I would like to go in Thailand for three/four/five months or even  move there and I would like to work, any jobs, perhaps in tourism/bars/restaurants...).

Can you help me and give me advice - Which papers to have? How to find a job?"

For westerners to find a short time job in Thailand may be very difficult. You always have to check with the visa and work permit section on the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or the Thai Embassy website anywhere.
Legally you cannot work there without the work permit. And a few months in a country is not enough time to get you one.

If you decide to settle down here, then you have two options - open your own Thai company and sort out your own work permit yourself ( not really yourself - any lawyer will do it for you)...or second option - you find someone who will employ you and take care of your work permit.
If you have money (and I am talking here about £1000) - I would advise you to go for your own company, this way you will never depend on anyone, but if money is a problem - then your only way is to be employed by someone.

Another thing - westerner (farang) cannot do some jobs in Thailand. For example - you can be a director of your company and have a shop, but you cannot be a shop assistant and sell the goods...You can open a massage place/spa, but you cannot do a massage... You can have a restaurant but you can't be a waiter...There are Thai people for that, and Thai Goverment makes sure they do those jobs, not you.

As the Thai law stands, you need a work permit to do any form of work, that includes voluntary, and if a Thai national can do the job you are trying to get, you will not get a work permit, regardless of how good or cheap you are to hire.
So, before you start any adventure, always seek an advise about what you can and cannot do in this country, otherwise you may get in big trouble.


  1. Hello Elina!
    It was nice to hear your story how you ended up working in samui. i have been there many times and now i'v been looking for job in there. I hope you can help me about that?
    If i wanna open a shop there are you sure like a 1000£ its enough in now days?
    Greetings from Finland, Eetu.

    1. Hi Eetu, 1000£ you need to open your company - I mean organise all papers, etc. To open the shop - depends in which area, these days in Chaweng for example the rent is extremely high, but at the same time it's the busiest area, so if you are doing everything right - you get your money back and profit. Other areas are cheaper to rent, but less people. Also, don't forget- if you want to survive here - your shop has to be unique, and offer something what no one else has.

  2. Hi, Elina
    I need to think about that what i want to do and what unique
    i can give to the people. I already got job in Bkk. But later in the future
    i want to start running own shop or something like that.
    Maybe in Samui, cos i just love that island.
    Everything good for you and thank you, for the small tip.
    Maybe I'll ended up asking your help in your shop someday.

  3. Hi Elina

    I hope you can help me..
    My name is Kiri and i am a brittish citizen but was born in thailand and have a thai id
    and duel nationality so living and working in thailand is not a problem, My Thai family live on Koh samui and i really wish to join them and live here with my family my english husband and 3 year old daughter. Please could you suggest what type of bussiness to go into or job to get, Me and my husband are qualified graphic designers and photographers.

    any help would be welcome thank you

    kiri x

    1. Hi Kiri, funny enough my husband is a graphic designer and photographer, that is what he does on the island. Just do what you can do, most of the work there is something to do with a tourism, you can try to find a job in estate agencies as well, or open your own business.

    2. Thanks Elina,

      We were looking towards a selling type of bussiness and incorporating our skills that way i.e t-shirt design, rather than open up a graphic/potgaraphy sort of a bussiness. but anything will do x
      Do you find that the wage is adequate in relation to cost of living?

      And whould you surgest moving first and finding a job after or try and set something up before we move? x

      kiri x

  4. Hi Elina,

    my name is Martin and I´m a 26 year old, holding a Bachelor degree in Business Management. I also really love Koh Samui - stayed there for more than 5 month (only holiday). Now I really would like to come back and find a job there. Do you think that my BA degree can help? Do you know any (regularly updated) online job markets for Samui?

    I´m really looking forward for any advice! Thanks!

    Martin ;-)

  5. Hi Elina,

    My wife (Russian) and I interested in to come to Samui and find the job there... She is a lawyer and I am an English teacher.
    Is there a possibility for her to find the job there as a customer service in hotels ?
    How I can find the teaching job there ?

    Thanks a million...

    1. As mentioned before by others, it is not that easy to find jobs for foreigners, or at least some decent paid jobs. Languages other than English can certainly be of benefit, especially in hospitality. However number of Russian tourists have reduced dramatically since 2014, now the island is full with Chinese and the demand for Chinese speakers is very height. But the latest tourism reports and forecasts tell that Russians a slow coming back. A good resource about working in Samui and fining jobs in Samui is www.samuidaily.com/blog. There you find some up to date information. As English teacher, you should have at least TEFL or any other comparable certification, but again even for teachers salaries are low (unless you are at ISS).

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  7. Hello Elina, My name is Nahuel and im trying to found out all the info about samui as possible, because i got a job offert there and i wanna see if i will like the place, i never been there before, but i been traveling around the world for years, im a Flair Bartender (competition level) and that is the job about, im concer about how is life there, right now im living in Richmond Virginia - USA, and there is not much to do here, im not a big party boy because i always been working in bars or clubs but i do enjoy nice cocktail bars and classy places, can you tell me a little from your experience about how is to live there?, please.
    it get me excited the idea of live in a place where i can enjoy nature and outside life like water sports, or adventure kind of activities, and the fact that be able to learn muy thai there between other things, but besides that how is life there??, thank you so much for your time and hope to get news from you soon

  8. Hello, is it correct that even with a work permit you have to leave the Thailand every three months ?

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