What Foreign Nationals Must Know Before Working in Thailand

working in thailand

Thailand is becoming a hugely popular destination for expats and those looking to work in an exotic location with potentially great rewards.  Thailand has a lot of positives for expats and foreigners seeking employment that make it an attractive overseas location.

Firstly, it is a truly beautiful country with gorgeous landscapes, amazing culture and an interesting history. Secondly, its government continues to develop its major cities such as Bangkok and Chiang Mai, therefore, the infrastructure and amenities are superb. Finally, there is a wealth of business opportunity and employment to be enjoyed. To that end, if you are looking at working in Thailand, it is prudent to understand foreign employment law, and what jobs are usually taken by expats. To help, we have provided a short and comprehensive guide on this subject for your benefit:

Rules on Foreign Employment in Thailand?

In Thailand, there is a basic unwritten rule of Thai citizens come first. In short, if a Thai person is capable of doing a job, then they should be hired ahead of a foreigner. This might seem discriminatory to some, but it is a way of preserving Thai employment levels and is beneficial for the economy.

In the last year, there has also been a set of new laws that have presented stricter regulations on illegal foreign employment. Businesses that are found guilty of employing illegal migrants will be heavily fined. This shouldn’t impact you providing that you can legally work in the country! To legally work in Thailand you must do one of the following:

– Have a valid visa from an official Thai embassy or consulate
– Have a valid work permit
– Work for a company that complies with the Alien Employment Act

List of Restricted Jobs in Thailand

You can find more information on the above pointers on the official Thai government website. Aside from the above, all you have to worry about is the list of jobs that foreigners cannot occupy (which are listed below), and that you comply to your employee’s regulations and rules as you would with any form of employment.

As mentioned above, there is a list of jobs that foreigners cannot hold – this is to preserve employment for Thai nationals, and to preserve national security etc. We have listed some of the main jobs below:

– Bricklaying, Carpentry and construction work- Labour work
– Goldsmith, Silversmith
– Accountancy supervising
– Agriculture
– Civil Engineering
– Tour guiding or conducting

The list is extensive and contains many specialist roles – for a full list you can check out the following guide.

Occupations Commonly Held by Foreign Nationals in Thailand

Despite the list of prohibited jobs, expats can still enjoy a wide variety of employment opportunities in Thailand. We have listed some popular jobs that foreigners often undertake within the country below:

– Teacher
– Real Estate
– Diving Instructor
– Freelance content writer
– Office role within a multinational company
– Bar or restaurant ownership/management
– Goods exporter
– Web developer- Tech-related roles
– Marketing

This is just a small list and there are thousands of different roles foreigners can find work for. To find work, it is advisable to register accounts with the following social networking/job portals – LinkedIn, Craigslist Thailand, JobsDB and Work Venture. These job portals provide a repository for those looking for work within Thailand and contain a vast array of available employment opportunities. Furthermore, we would advise looking through the content on the following website as it provides a comprehensive guide to job opportunities within Thailand.

We hope you have found this article enlightening – Thailand could really be seen as a land of opportunity for those willing to take the plunge and put in the effort.


Thailand Property Guide

Find Thai Property

Thailand Property Experts – specialist pre and after-sales support for overseas property buyers in Thailand 



Pattaya is no doubt a booming market right now and with so many options it can be difficult to know which is the best Pattaya condo for sale. Our wide selection of Pattaya property for sale appeals to those with a lower budget but can also achieve very high rental returns up to 10% per year. With the new high speed rail link from Bangkok Airport, Pattaya real estate is set to increase in value at a very rapid pace. Read More

Message Us

    Search Property