What is the change? Following the issuance of an Emergency Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners, authorities in Thailand have issued new rules for obtaining extensions of urgent work permits.

What does the change mean? Employers and foreign workers intending to extend an urgent work permit beyond its initial 15-day validity period will be required to apply for an extension through the Employment Department before the initial validity period ends. When doing so, they must submit a new application and provide a letter from the sponsoring company explaining why the extension is needed. Exact procedures may vary, depending on where in Thailand an extension is sought.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Urgent work permit extensions.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals who need to extend an urgent work permit beyond the initial 15-day period.
  • Business impact: Businesses should take note of the new rules in order to avoid the risk that employees may lose their work authorization.  

Background: The emergency decree, issued in late March, contains significant changes to the rules for companies hiring foreign employees. The decree specified that foreign nationals entering Thailand for urgent work must notify the registrar and, absent an extension, must complete their work within 15 days. Regulations detailing the procedures to apply for an extension have now been published.

Procedures may vary from office to office; for instance, some provincial offices may require extension requests to be submitted at least three days before the initial work permit ends, whereas requests submitted at the One Stop Service Center will take applications up until the day on which the initial permit expires.

Foreign workers will be allowed to request two extensions and then will be required to leave Thailand for a 45-day cooling-off period before applying for another urgent work permit. However, authorities will consider requests on a case-by-case basis as to whether foreign workers have sufficient necessity to return to Thailand within 45 days.

BAL Analysis: Employers should be sure that they submit requests for extensions of urgent work permits in a timely manner and that they provide an adequate explanation for the reasons the work must continue. Applicants are encouraged to work with BAL, especially when submitting requests outside of Bangkok, because of the likelihood that procedures may vary from office to office.

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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