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THAILAND – New Law Includes Tougher Penalties for Illegal Work

, 14/07/2017

Effective 23 June 2017, the Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners B.E. 2560 (2017) significantly increases the penalties for various offences related to foreign nationals working in Thailand.

However, the enforcement of some of the penalties has been postponed until 1 January 2018, to allow employers and foreign employees to comply with the new rules.

Changes for Employers

Employers have a new obligation to notify labour officials within seven days of the end of a work permit holder’s employment.
Confiscating the work permit or identification document of a foreign national is a new offence, carrying a fine of up to THB 100,000.
The fine for employing a foreign national without a valid work permit or in a prohibited occupation, or in conditions different from those specified in the work permit, has increased to between THB 400,000 and THB 800,000;

Changes for Employees

The fine for working in a prohibited occupation or without a work permit has increase to between THB 2000 and THB 100,000 and/or up to five years’ imprisonment;
The fine for working on an urgent and necessary basis without notifying officials has increased to between THB 20,000 and THB 100,000.


On 4 July 2017, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued the NCPO Order Number 33/2560 Re: Temporary Measures to Rectify the Problems in Managing the Work of Aliens, effective retroactively from 23 June 2017, and suspending several of the penalties under the Decree.

Action Items

Employers should aim to be compliant with the Decree immediately, despite the NCPO Order, to avoid difficulties with the Thai authorities;
Contact an immigration specialist for the latest updates and advice.