We have noticed this kind of question being raised in the Hua Hin Expats pages on Facebook.
Some Foreigners who come to Thailand or maybe even some retirees, who already here, want to volunteer themselves to teach English or help within Charity Organisations etc without payment.
Can they do this? According to the Foreign Labour Act, BE 2551, foreigners who can work in Thailand without a Work Permit as provided in Section 4 as Ambassador and their staff, Consul, Representative of United Nations Member Country, private Servant of the said person, person who works under a mission between Thai Government and another Nation or International Organisation, person who works under a mission of Education and Culture, Art, Sport or other which is provided in a Decree and person who works under Cabinet Resolution.
According to the Foreign Labour Act, Section 5, BE 2551 providing definition of work means “to work physically or with knowledge with or without pay or benefit”.
This implies that to work as a volunteer is work under the definition of Foreign Labour Act, therefore voluntary work by a foreigner requires a Work Permit.
In case a Foreigner who teaches English to children who live next door and not at the school, but as a friend, or to give help to people as a gesture of goodwill or for humanitarian aspects, a Work Permit is not required, because you work occasionally and independently.