Take a holiday, lose a work permit?

I am a shareholder in a Thai limited company, which is roughly 65% Thai and 35% farang owned. The company has 20 million baht in registered capital and holds 10 foreign work permits. My two queries are: 1. Our foreign workers – all of whom hold multiple entry, non-immigrant B visas – lose their work permits when they return to their home countries during the low season. Time, effort and hundreds of thousands of baht were spent obtaining these permits and then, a few months later, they are canceled. Can a foreign worker not have an extended break abroad and then start work again? 2. I am the manager of the company and have held a work permit for this company since 1999. I also hold a multiple entry, non-immigrant B visa and leave the country every three months to do a visa run. I am planning to take a two-week holiday but am experiencing difficulties. My passport and work permit expire five days after I go on holiday. I was told that I will lose my work permit as it expires while I am away. The advice was to do a visa run before my holiday, return to Thailand for a day and then submit my work permit renewal papers, all before I go on holiday. Why must foreign workers lose their work permits by taking a holiday?

Company Owner, Rawai.

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The expiration of your work permit depends upon the expiry date of your visa. You should always renew your work permit before it expires, and if it is due to expire while you are on holiday, then you should leave Thailand to get a visa stamp before you go on holiday. Your work permit renewal papers should then be submitted as normal, otherwise your permit will expire. If you have permission from the immigration office to have a visa extension for a year, your work permit will expire according to your visa’s expiration and the agreement between you and your company regarding how long you will work for it. In cases where a foreigner has permission from Immigration to have a year’s visa extension, the work permit will again expire at the same time as the visa, and as per the duration of the employment contract between the individual and the company.

Sawang Maneerat, Technical Labour Officer of Phuket Provincial Labour Office.Sawang Maneerat, Technical Labour Officer of Phuket Provincial Labour Office.

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