Foreign workers in Thailand are in the news. There has long been a reliance on workers from neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos who accept unskilled and unwanted jobs in the construction and fishing sectors as well as factory work.
The Visa status of these workers is now being questioned, much to the distress of so many displaced, vulnerable and sometimes stateless individuals and families. Working as an ex-pat in Thailand without a Work Permit is and also very risky, especially with tour guides or drivers being amongst the more than 30 occupations prohibited to non-Thais. Substantial financial penalties may be imposed on both the employer and the employee with custody before deportation a distinct possibility. As the proud holder of a legitimate Work Permit, I can say from experience that applying is complex, time consuming and frustrating.
Many turn to legal companies or other agents for Visa services (at a price), although this is not required if the employer understands what is needed and is prepared to provide bundles of paperwork to multiple government agencies. There’s no one-stop shop for this process! At the time of writing this column my fingers are firmly crossed that the reported AirAsia proposal for flights between Hua Hin and Kuala Lumpur really takes off. We know there have been a number of start-stop services in the past. For me that would mean a huge travel time reduction to Australia. This proposal is really about putting Hua Hin on then International travel map at last; here’s hoping!