working in paradise city ...
As has been mentioned before, all employment for foreigners is subject to the Alien Employment Act BE 2521 (AD 1978) and Amendments.
The concept of work for the purposes of the Act is interpreted very loosely and extends to exerting your physical energy or using your knowledge whether for money or benefits, or not.
Potentially, a volunteer for charity work is in breach of this legistlation.
Essentially, Thailand is very protective of jobs that its own citizens can perform and you'll always have to demonstrate that you can do something better than a local to get a Work Permit.
We have listed some of the occupations that you definitely cannot do as a foreigner below. Please do not take this as in any way exhaustive. Things are prone to regular change over here and if you're in any doubt about you want to undertake, consult a competent lawyer.
Restricted occupations include:
Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery (except for positions requiring specialist experience or supervision).
Bricklaying, carpentry or other construction work.
Driving motor vehicles or vehicles that do not include machinery or mechanical devices, except piloting aircraft internationally.
Front shop sale.
Auction sale work.
Supervising, auditing or giving service in accountancy, except occasional internal auditing.
Cutting or polishing precious or semi-preciuos stones.
Haircutting, hairdressing or beautification.
Cloth weaving by hand.
Mat weaving or making utensils from reed, rattan, jute, hay or bamboo.
Making rice paper by hand.
Making Thai musical instuments.
Goldsmith, silversmith or gold and copper alloy work.
Making Thai dolls.
Making matresses or quilts.
Making alms bowls.
Making silk products by hand.
Making Buddha images.
Making paper or cloth umbrellas.
Brokerage or agency, except in international trading.
Professional civil engineering concerning design and calculation, systemisation, analysis, planning, testing, construction supervision or consulting services, excluding work requiring specialised techniques.
Professional architechural work concerning design, drawing-making, cost-estimation or consulting services.
Cigarette rolling by hand.
Tour guiding or conducting.
Hawking of goods.
Thai typesetting by hand.
Unwinding and twisting silk by hand.
Clerical or secretarial work.
Providing legal services or engaging in legal work, except in cases of legal arbitration.
So, as you can see, there is huge range of jobs and services that are reserved for Thai nationals only. It is likely that list will only get longer in the future.
The first consideration is that a foreigner must have a Work Permit to engage in any form of employment/business here.
Read more about work permits »