accountants and business advisers
04 Oct 2017
The Department of Employment, Ministry of Labor in Thailand, is cooperating with the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Immigration Bureau to implement an e-Service system for foreign experts when they apply for their visa and work permits. The BOI will facilitate these experts regardless of whether they work in a BOI-promoted company or not and can access services at the One Stop Service Center (OSSC) for Visa and Work Permits. A pilot project has been implemented for a Single Window System that intends to significantly reduce the time and documentation that is currently required to apply. The full system is currently slated to begin on 1st January, 2018 with training and workshops happening over the next 3 months. Note that details of “expertise recognition” can be found on the BOI’s website.
Currently, even though foreigners can get a work permit and visa at the One Stop Service Center, they have to submit applications to three authorities one at a time; first they have to get an approval letter from the office of the BOI. Then, they submit their application for a work permit to the Department of Employment and wait until the work permit book is issued. After that, they have to submit their application for a one-year visa at the Immigration counter and re-entry counter. The whole process might take a one day.
After the Single Window system is implemented, foreigners will not have to bring any documents to manually submit with the 3 authorities, but they can just submit their application online through a mobile application, wait for the system to make an appointment and then go to present themselves at the One Stop Service. The new process takes approximately 3 hours and the system will be online 24 hours a day.
The Work Permit will be changed to an e-Permit which can be downloaded to a mobile - so no more Work Permit Book. However, there are still some questions that the Department of Employment needs to address for example in case the mobile phone does not support the e-Permit application, or if there is an internet problem, or the phone runs out of battery. Indeed there was some commentary that a Work Permit Card might be a better solution.
The BOI plans workshops and seminars for companies in Thailand to train them on the new system during the next 3 months and the full system should be available from 1st January 2018.
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