When a foreigner moves to Thailand and decides to work, the issue regarding acquiring a work permit will soon pop up. Thailand offers a few jobs to westerners to teach English, which is something that they are permitted to do. Volunteering at a charity or teaching voluntarily is also possible. But, the issue regarding the work permit will continue to persist.
To be blunt, any foreigner or non-Thai citizen should secure a Thai work permit whether to do volunteer work or teach English. Everyone is required to have a work permit if a foreigner wants to work in Thailand. This is a part of the Thai laws that must be respected by everyone. It is illegal for a foreigner to work in Thailand without securing a work permit first.
Many language and regular schools refuse to secure their non-Thai educators work permits because it is a time-consuming and expensive process. Some companies that would like to hire foreigners to join their team forgo the need to have a work permit because it’s a tedious process. These schools and companies may say to the foreigner, who they would like to hire, that the work permit is not necessary or they will provide one later. When the foreigner without work permit continued to teach and was caught in the act by an immigration official or the Thai police, he/she will go to jail or be kicked out of Thailand.
Basic Requirements to Work in Thailand
1. Part-time English Teacher
Technically, it would be difficult for part-time English teachers to secure a work permit simply because the Thai law requires the applicant to render 30 hours of work per week to be eligible for a work permit. If a foreigner managed to get a work permit from his full-time job and keep on teaching part-time, he/she may still end up in jail, fined, or kicked out when caught. He/she is not allowed to use the work permit that he was able to secure from his full-time job.
Any foreigner should stay away from doing part-time work. However, there are westerners who do their part-time teaching job at night. Authorities sometimes turn a blind eye to the situation since these part-time teachers do more good than harm. If it’s inevitable to do a part-time English teaching job, a foreigner should keep a low profile.
2. Volunteer English Teacher or for Charity Work
Even a volunteer English teacher must be able to present a work permit in Thailand. The same 30 hours of work per week is required to secure a work permit. The work permit of a volunteer is usually being taken care of by the charity or school who are benefitting from the volunteer work.
When a foreigner wants to work in Thailand, he/she must have a Thai work permit to teach work legally in the country.