List of Prohibited Jobs for westerners in Thailand

Misguided notion?
This forum is about work related topics and how to work in Thailand legally and prohibited work. Thailand laws still require work permits for foreigners and in most cases 4 Thais workers. Plus social security payments all connected with Immigration, labour, tax, Business Development  dept.  Then we haven't mentioned the dual pricing system. Definitely needs a review.

It is not my intention to communicate contentiously, but you're the one who stated "Thailand's Laws are basic and not written for the internet era". Perhaps some serious research effort (on your own part), will adequately clarify, the reasoning behind my first reply to your post #236.

It appears that you've gone "off", on some kind of a tangent here, sir. Indeed the OP topic thread pertains precisely to "Prohibited Jobs (not business ventures) for foreigners in Thailand"  Kindly stay on topic, sir. :thanks:

Now, fyi ~ Thai Labour Law statutes are reciprocally aligned with the Labour Laws of other SEA nations. Thailand is an A.S.E.A.N. member state, and not a state within the EuroZone, NAFTA or the OAS (Organization of American States).

Thus, any westerner seeking competitive employment, within any Industrial Trade or Professional Service field, anywhere in SEA (including Australia), needs to grip on the realities (via internet research), first, and prior to boarding the out-bound flight, from their home country. Fyi, again ~ Just in case you haven't noticed, Thailand is not a Third World nation, anymore.

So, now it's Starbuck's Coffee time, sir! Best regards, and :cheers:

Ask someone that wants to work doing SEO work from their computer in there room do they feel safe without a work permit or working under the radar. Facing jail fine and deportation.  This work does not require an office or 4 thai staff. Basic thai labour laws may need to be reviewed

Now that's a statement that I can readily sink my teeth into. I totally agree with you, but a revision to the law, re: SEO (over the internet) will not be revised, anytime in the near future. It's all about Big Brother being in control, and getting his monthly 4% income-tax, slice of the pie, plus the corporate registration fees. Good luck. :cheers:

Moderated by Priscilla 5 years ago
Reason : inappropriate comment

I suggest that we all take a deep breath and get back on topic please.

As readers can see the thai laws on working in Thailand legally are meshed in many areas of the government. And these departments have their own interpretation of what constitutes work and what is the applicable visa and work type. I as a foreigner have a work permit and the nature of my work is written in it. If readers look back through this thread they will see information pertaining to basic laws and guidelines for prohibited jobs and legal jobs.

Another issue workers need to be aware of is that the salaries are set by the government. And it's in bahts. This is what you will pay tax and social on. The baht is strong against other currencies so if your company sponsors you and pays in your home currency then it must be the equivalent of, in my case, 50000 baht per month. A few years ago the exchange rates were 31.3 baht to the dollar. Now 24.

Yes, please, let us waste our lives on more pedantry.

Very interesting

Teaching English looks like an option


this is all changing now
the King has released an emergency decree regarding work permits and categories for working in
some restrictions have been lifted and the DBD in Sept will issue some new information

it is difficult to get more info on this as when i sent clients to immigration or the labour department they had not yet received a memo on this and so be patient

nice post! I have to looking for more information about work and live in thailand but this post help me as an introduction.  :)

Does this applies to Foreigners in general or specifically Westerners?

Fitness coach and bodybuilder Can work in Thailand?

Even though the details are quite sketchy at best - as most of the information can change all of the sudden  - This is the updated information (source:

Earlier this year it was revealed that Thailand had made major changes to the rules regarding work permits and its foreign labour law.

The changes, which were introduced on March 27 2018 in the Emergency Decree on Non-Thais' Working Management (No.2) (2018) (“Decree No. 2”), saw Thailand relax some of its laws regarding work permits, including reducing the penalties for foreigners found working without work permits.

For example, foreigners can no longer be sent to jail for working without a work permit.

Also scrapped was the rarely enforced requirement that all foreigners who come to Thailand to attend meetings, seminars or sports competitions need a work permit.

The changes also meant that foreigners could now work in some occupations that had previously been prohibited to non-Thai nationals.

Arguably the most significant change was that the Decree states that a foreigner who has  work permit in Thailand can now work anywhere and for anyone and carry out work not listed in the description on their work permit, providing it is not excluded under the list of occupations prohibited to foreigners.

Now documentation released by the British Chamber of Commerce in Thailand taken from its meeting held on Friday 24 August has revealed more information on the changes to the laws regarding foreign workers, the highlights of which can be found below:

Definition of “work” under the Working of Aliens Act, B.E. 2551 (2008) is very broad:

• “engaging in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits”

• New definition of “work” under the Emergency Decree B.E. 2561 (2018)

• “engaging in any profession, with or without employer, but excluding operation of business of a licensee under the Foreign Business Law”

• Exceptions to work include:

− Participating in conferences and seminars

− Visiting exhibitions or trade fairs

− Visiting business sites or attending business meetings

− Attending special or academic lectures

− Attending lectures or seminars on technical training

− Purchasing activities at trade fairs

• No Work Permit required for a Smart Visa holder … plication/

Changes to Work Permit Laws, Regulations & Enforcement … -employees

Emergency Decree on Foreigner's Working Management No.2 B.E. 2561 (2018)

• Work Permit is not required for:

− Persons who enter Thailand from time to time to hold or to attend a meeting, training, seminar, art or cultural exhibitions, or sports competition

− Persons who enter Thailand to operate business or to make investment or who have knowledge, ability, or high skills, which would be beneficial to the development of the country

− Representatives of a foreign company with a Foreign Business License under the Foreign Business Act

• No longer required to submit application for amending Work Permit for:

− Changing of Position

− Changing of scope of work / job description

− Changing of address of the company

Provided that the expat still work with the same employer

• Reduce maximum penalty for working without work permit

From: Imprisonment for five years or a fine of THB 2,000 to 100,000 or both

To be: A fine of THB 5,000 to 50,000 and deported from the country

• Reduce penalty for employer

From: THB 400,000 to 800,000 for each foreigner employed without Work Permit

To be: THB 10,000 to 100,000 for each foreigner employed without Work Permit


Changes to Work Permit Laws, Regulations & Enforcement

Plan to remove 12 occupations from the list of 39 prohibited occupations

1. Labour work

2. Masonry, Carpentry, or other construction work

3. Cultivation, animal breeding, forestry and fishery work

4. Supervising, auditing or providing services in accounting

5. Mattress and quilt blanket making

6. Knife making

7. Shoemaking

8. Hat making

9. Civil engineering works

10. Architectural work

11. Dressmaking

12. Pottery or ceramic ware making

Remaining 27 prohibited occupations and add 1

1. Wood carving;

2. Driving motor vehicles or non-motorized carriers, except for piloting international aircraft;

3. Shop attendant;

4. Auctioneering;

5. Gem cutting and polishing;

6. Hair cutting, hairdressing and beautician work;

7. Hand weaving;

8. Mat weaving or making of wares from reed, rattan, kenaf, straw or bamboo pulp;

9. Manufacture of manual fibrous paper;

10. Manufacture of lacquerware;

11. Thai musical instrument production;

12. Manufacture of nielloware;

13. Goldsmith, silversmith and precious metal work;

14. Manufacture of bronzeware;

15. Thai doll making;

16. Alms bowl making;

17. Manual silk product making;

18. Buddha image making;

19. Paper and cloth umbrella fabrication;

20. Brokerage or agency work, except in international business;

21. Manual cigarette rolling;

22. Tourist guide or tour organizing agency;

23. Hawking business;

24. Thai character type setting;

25. Manual silk reeling and weaving;

26. Clerical or secretarial work;

There is also discussion of tax breaks for new businesses set up in the EEC (Eastern Economic Corridor), specifically in Chonburi, Chachoengsao and Rayong and 5 year visas for BOI members

3. Declared SEP Zone

• Chonburi – Hemaraj, Eastern Seaboard, Amata, Pinthong, Yamato

• Rayong – Hemaraj, Eastern Seaboard Rayong, CP

• Chachoensao – TFD Industrial Estate

• Smart Park Rayong (EECd)

• WangChan Valley Rayong (EECi)

• U-Tapao Airport (EEC-A)

There was no reference to the recent changes covering people “work for themselves” as reported previously.

Sounds like you're familiar with Thailand. Know a good place in Pai to stay six weeks - for research.

Any help would be appreciated? Thanks.

So now if you are in default you will be deported

However you will spend some time in the IDC before the paperwork is complete

Dont plan on coming back for 10 years

Volunteering on a Retirement Visa

I understand that a Visa is required even to do volunteer work. I am a member of and have volunteered in Spain for 7 weeks. There are over 300 Workaway hosts in Thailand.

I hope to be successful at gaining a Retirement Visa in 2019. But I would also like to spend some time as a volunteer under the Workaway program.

Is it possible to have a Retirement Visa, as well as be a volunteer?

new rules coming as per a Royal Decree from the King - you will need to wait as the Decree came out in April 2018 however no one seems to have got the memo - suggest you check with the Labour Department and Immigration before you start your volunteer  work

Thank you. I have asked an immigration agent in Jomptien that I used in 2011. I will also see what he says.

One of the members of Workaway was a non-profit permaculture farm near Chiang Mai,  and they were interested in hosting me. That was only a few months ago.

Thanks again


Actually, it would be more helpful if there is a list with allowed jobs rather than prohibited.

1000's of jobs to list and about 37 restricted jobs
do some homework as its not just about jobs
immigration, company, sponsor, revenue, labour Depts all involved

jana611 wrote:

.., Thailand is not a Third World nation, anymore. :

Nobody use this term anymore, it's racist! There are countries in stage: undeveloped (like some countries in African continent), in development (Thailand as example) and developed (5 eyes - research it if you do not know what it is).

Let's be less racist and more evolved with the reality that surround us all.

fapc wrote:
jana611 wrote:

.., Thailand is not a Third World nation, anymore. :

Nobody use this term anymore, it's racist! There are countries in stage: undeveloped (like some countries in African continent), in development (Thailand as example) and developed (5 eyes - research it if you do not know what it is).

Let's be less racist and more evolved with the reality that surround us all.

No the term is not racist nor is the reference - and given the context in which it is used there is no discrimination or prejudice against people

I almost got my ass busted in Brazil years ago, when I referred to the favelas (slum), a guy told me it's called community and not favela anymore. You can be sued in Brazil for that. It's racism.
The same idea goes for 3rd world, it's a country in development. You do not call undeveloped people as savages anymore, the same you do not call a black fella "nigga" and so forth an so on. When people want to show superiority they usually use this terms, it's racism.

No one said nigga. No one said savages. Nothing is racist.

are these jobs prohibited for westerners only or all foreigners?

what if its someone who is from east of Thailand?
Easterners Okay?

Duh !


But it is ok for others to use the term whitie or farang and not be a racist. It seems , that only one side brings up the racial problem more than the other.

this thread was to help people and when answers are given they are in good faith
I am 20 years now in Thailand, I have a work permit and own 2 law offices. My comments are based on experience from the many different people and cases we handle. Thats all so please dont attack me for being a racist as my record speaks for itself. Just trying to help.

LuisF wrote:

Wow! I'm running 13 months late,...reading the comprehensive info provided in your
Post # 255.

Thank you very much,...for your time...and effort.  :cheers:

That covers just about everything ... why is the Thai law as such ?


Hello ,

I am a Forex Trader Can i live in Thailand i do my Job ?

STOSHIO: You might need a work permit if it's an official job.


DeeDeeHost wrote:

is web design a forbidden job for foreigners?

Check this link and you'll get an idea of what kind of occupations are prohibited for foreigners: … gners.html

@blackjack2010 4 workers Thai workers gets 1 visa for a foreigner for each 2 million baht of capitalization of a Thai limited company. A Representative office gets 2-3 visa for 3 million baht of capitalization spread over three years in four payments, with no need of Thai workers. But more capitalization will get you more visas for both.
You guys should really consult a lawyer for stuff like this. ***

@JacktheLawyer I run Thai888 Law and have done so for many year
this is an old thread and many things have changed and so yes consult a lawyer in your area'

I have been comming & going to BKK for over 15 years. I am married to a Thai and will be retiring to BKK soon. My question as a glass artist is if I am doing my art mostly a hobby will I be limited in showing or selling my work. if I am so luckey in Thailand?