Prohibited Jobs for Foreigners in Thailand

If you are going to work in Thailand then you need to apply for the correct Thai visa as well as a work permit before you start work in Thailand. You cannot however do any type of work in Thailand. You need to do work that a Thai national cannot do and you are also not allowed to work in ‘protected industries’ where foreigners are prohibited from working in.

The Thai government has broken down the employment process in Thailand into 3 categories. These are listed below so you may understand what a foreigner is not allowed to do in Thailand. Note that they will not issue you with a work permit for any of these professions. The Alien Business Law (N.E.C. Announcement 281) does not allow work in Category A and B. For Category C you need prior permission to be involved in it.

 

Category A:

Agriculture:

  • – You are not allowed in rice farming
  • – You are not allowed in salt farming. ***

Working in agriculture in Thailand is not going to be allowed as a Thai national can perform this type of work. Even though the Act states ‘rice farming’ there was a huge outcry in 2009 when a foreign company stepped in and opened an agribusiness in Issaan (North Eastern Thailand). It’s not allowed.

 

Service business:

  • – You are not allowed in accounting
  • – You are not allowed in farming animals
  • – You are not allowed in architecture
  • – You are not allowed in advertising
  • – You are not allowed in brokerage and auctioning
  • – You are not allowed to be a barber, hair dresser & beautician.
  • – You are not allowed in the building industry.

These are professions which you are not allowed in as a Thai national can perform this task. There are however consultants such as consulting engineers. The prohibition is mainly to protect the low-end jobs in Thailand from neighboring countries nationals.

 

Category B:

Agriculture Business:

  • – You are not allowed in Orchids cultivation
  • – You are not allowed in cultivation
  • – You are not allowed in animal husbandry including silk worm raising
  • – You are not allowed in timbering
  • – You are not allowed in fishing.

These are where foreigners are not allowed in. If you are in doubt then contact us for more information as to what you are allowed to do in Thailand.

 

Industrial & Handicraft:

  • – You are not allowed in Rice milling
  • – You are not allowed in Flour making
  • – You are not allowed in sugar, alcohol & non-alcohol drinks manufacturing
  • – You are not allowed in Ice cream manufacturing
  • – You are not allowed in Pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • – You are not allowed in cold storage, timber, gold, silver and inlaid stone
  • – You are not allowed in wood carving, lacquer-ware, match making, cement etc,
  • – You are not allowed in Dynamiting rocks
  • – You are not allowed in Manufacturing garments & shoes
  • – You are not allowed in Printing, newspaper publishing, silk weaving or silk printing
  • – You are not allowed in manufacture of finished products in silk.


Commercial:

  • – You are not allowed in all retailing not in category C. Or trading not in Category C
  • – You are not allowed in selling food and drinks **
  • – You are not allowed in trading of antiques & fine arts.


Service Industry:

  • – You are not allowed in Tour agencies
  • – You are not allowed in Hotels except Hotel management
  • – You are not allowed in photography, laundering, dress making and service jobs.


Land, water & i.e. 

  • – You are not allowed in Transportation.

 

Category C:

You are allowed to do the following (with permission to be granted):

Exporting

  • – You are allowed in all wholesale trades not in A & B.
  • – You are allowed in retiling machinery, equipment & tools,
  • – You are allowed in selling food, beverages that promote tourism. **
  • – You are allowed in Industrial & handicrafts

Business:

  • – You are allowed in manufacturing animal feeds, vegetable oil extraction
  • – You are allowed in textile manufacturing, dyeing, fabric printing, glass ware manufacturing
  • – You are allowed in making plates and bowls
  • – You are allowed in stationary & printing paper, rock salt and salt mining. ***

This can become confusing so you should always speak to a lawyer in Thailand before you decide to start a business in Thailand. Note the wording in the prohibition listed below as only 2 examples:

 

** You are allowed to sell food and drinks to promote tourism. In other words you can sell food and drinks to foreigners but not locals as the primary market.

*** You are not allowed into salt farming (salt pans) however with permission you may be allowed into salt mining which is more capital cost intensive.

The laws in Thailand do change however as shown above certain professions and businesses are prohibited in Thailand. Note that you can’t be a barman in Thailand even though if it is done to promote tourism, you are however allowed to own the business. You can be the manager of such a business but not a worker per se.

Always take legal advice BEFORE you think of starting a business in Thailand.

 

The information contained in our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advices. For further information, please contact us.