Udon Thani Immigration Office

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greatsnake
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Post by greatsnake » March 6, 2012, 1:30 pm

I have had similar experiences with Udon Immigration. The fact of the matter is the "law" is whatever the person in charge says it is on any particular day.

Honestly, the best treatment I have ever received there was just after the new office opened and they were taking :D contributions :D for the new TV.



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jackspratt
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Post by jackspratt » March 6, 2012, 1:37 pm

In relation to the time money must be in the bank, the lady appears to be confusing the "retirement" extension (1st application - 2 months, subsequent - 3 months), with the "marriage" extension (2 months for all applications).

Look here: http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/313 ... try2613047

Open Item 7 - Thai Police Order 778/2551 – Visa-exempt period of stay allowed by Immigration for nationals of qualifying countries

(UM doesn't allow me to attach a .pdf file :( )

The requirements for marriage are at 2.18, and retirement 2.22.

Can't help re the work matter.

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BobHelm
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Post by BobHelm » March 6, 2012, 1:42 pm

jackspratt wrote:(UM doesn't allow me to attach a .pdf file :( )
Screen capture of pdf using something like..MWSnap, if you are using Windows, is the only way, sorry....

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Post by BobHelm » March 6, 2012, 1:59 pm

pdf1.jpeg
pdf2.jpeg

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jackspratt
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Post by jackspratt » March 6, 2012, 2:02 pm

I could have done that Bob, but I thought the entire document may be of interest on queries for different types of extensions etc. :D

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Post by rickfarang » March 6, 2012, 2:30 pm

I have run into a lot of people who do "remote consulting" and they think they are not "working in Thailand" any more than somebody who answers email from their employer while vacationing.

About a year or so ago, at a public meeting on the subject of when work permits are required, somebody from Chaing Mai Immigration answered a question, worded pretty much the same as yours and he said that he did not see that giving advice on the telephone would be considered working in Thailand.

Remember, these, even the comment from the Immigration officer, are only opinions.

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Post by semperfiguy » March 6, 2012, 3:33 pm

KHONDAHM wrote:In January, I dropped by immigration and the intern there confirmed 400k needed to be deposited 2 months in advance of renewal. Recently, I dropped by and the lady officer who actually handles renewals stated emphatically the intern (and everything I've read) was wrong. SHE says the loot must be there 2 months in advance for the FIRST time, then 3 months in advance for each subsequent renewal. To underscore her correctness, she gave me a handout printed in Thai and English. I scanned it and pointed to where it said 2 months in Thai and English after which she repeated (having proven HERSELF wrong), "Well, that is for the first time. It's 3 months for renewals."

So, I politely left it at that, thanked her for her time, and left. WTH? She had already attracted attention to herself and going toe-to-toe would have surely embarrassed her. Mr. Happy (I think is the nickname the Board has given him) was trying to be helpful, but did not want to confront her about it. He's been great in the past and knows its 2 months. Anyone ever successfully bypass the lady and insisted he help instead? I'm thinking of doing just that when I actually have to do it.

ANOTHER QUESTION:

Instead of doing the 400k renewal, I would rather do the 40k/month renewal. I can get the affidavit from the embassy and I can show in excess of 40k monthly transfers (from my US account). I have a B visa (hey, I dunno how, but that is what they gave me :)). I occassionally "do remote consulting work via the Internet/phone through my US entity" - no work related to Thailand or Thai companies whatsoever. I "login to a remote server desktop and do stuff". So, with all that in mind, would Immigration consider me to be working in Thailand and thus require a work permit and taxes OR would they consider me to NOT be working in Thailand and the work permit and taxes would not matter?

Knowledgeable responses are appreciated.

KHONDAHM, not sure if this addresses your particular issue, but being aware of the seriousness of not having a work permit if one is required will certainly motivate one to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.

Foreigners beware: Penalties for working without a permit may be dire
Published: 9/09/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: Business

An increasing number of foreigners are finding investment in Thailand attractive, creating a positive impact on the Thai economy. Undoubtedly, one of the effects of increased foreign direct investment is a greater number of foreigners coming to Thailand for a variety of business-related purposes: conducting business, taking a position of employment, accompanying family members assigned to work in Thailand, and even attending business meetings and seminars.

These foreigners need to be aware that if their purpose of staying in Thailand is to proceed with any work-related activity, either permanently or temporarily, they are required to obtain a work permit from the Department of Employment, Ministry of Labour, prior to starting work.

The Alien Working Act B.E. 2551 (2008) defines the term "work" as any activity whereby one exerts energy or uses knowledge, whether or not in consideration for wages or other benefits. The definition of work under the Alien Working Act is rather broad, as it covers performing all actions relating to business deemed as work under the law (and this even covers volunteer work). For example, if a person took part in negotiations, attended or spoke at a conference, provided technical support, or sourced for a local supplier, each of these actions would be considered work. Most foreigners who enter Thailand for a short business trip of one or two days are not aware that the purpose of their visit requires a work permit in accordance with Thai laws.

Working in Thailand without a work permit entails a penalty on the violator, ranging from a fine, imprisonment and deportation to, in the worst case scenario, prohibition from re-entering Thailand. Under the Alien Working Act, a foreigner who engages in work without obtaining the proper work permit is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and/or a fine from 2,000 baht to 100,000 baht. In practice, however, the authorities usually settle the case and deport the person from Thailand.

Foreigners working in Thailand should be aware that authorities have recently been more active in pursuing those who work in Thailand without permission. The number of foreigners arrested for working without permission in the past few years has increased markedly. And this includes not only unskilled workers, but also skilled workers, technicians, specialists, management personnel, and nationals of many countries, from neighbouring Southeast Asian states to European and North American countries.

Currently, in addition to the charges levied under the Alien Working Act, the authorities can impose penalties as stipulated under the Immigration Act B.E. 2522 (1979) on violators as well, by prohibiting foreigners found guilty of working without permission from re-entering the country (otherwise known as being "blacklisted"). Under the Immigration Act, a foreigner who is deported or has been sent out of the country by the competent officials is excluded from re-entering the kingdom.

When a foreigner who performs work without permission is caught, the authorities will take legal action against the violator. If it is found that the foreigner is guilty of working without permission, the immigration official will deport the violator from the kingdom and record their profile in the Immigration Bureau's blacklist database, to prevent them from re-entering Thailand in the future.

Given the seriousness of the penalties, it is highly advisable that foreigners who wish to perform work in Thailand, permanently or temporarily, spend the time and relatively minor financial effort to apply for a proper work permit.

However, an "ordinary" longer-term work permit may not be a suitable option for executives at multinational corporations who manage and oversee their company's operations in many countries or persons who would like to perform temporary or urgent work in Thailand, such as attend a business meeting with a local company or supplier. For these individuals, the full work permit application process may be too arduous, as it normally takes two to three weeks to prepare and process an application.

To address this problem and encourage an investment-friendly environment, the Alien Working Act allows foreigners intending to stay in the kingdom for a short period of time to notify the necessity and urgency of their work to the Department of Employment instead of applying for an ordinary work permit. The notification may take a couple of hours to process and be approved. It should be noted that only the performance of "necessary and urgent" work is eligible for this type of permission, and the maximum period the foreigner will be allowed to stay to perform such work is 15 days per entry, inclusive of weekends and holidays. This type of application may seem like an onerous process for such a short visit, but it will ensure due compliance with the law and prevent any possible headaches resulting from legal violations.


http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/eco ... ay-be-dire
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Post by greatsnake » March 6, 2012, 4:05 pm

rickfarang wrote:I have run into a lot of people who do "remote consulting..."
Probably the most famous of these is frequent Bloomberg and CNBC guest Marc Faber.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Faber

I believe he has lived in Thailand, more or less, for almost 20 years.

I have known countless people over the years who work either as a consultant or via the Internet while staying here. I have yet to hear of even 1 person who has been detained, arrested, fined and/or deported for doing so.

I suspect the rule of thumb is that if you have an official office/business here, you need a work permit. If you are here and you add value to your business while you are in Thailand (i.e, write, consult, etc.), but your business is outside of Thailand, you don't have a lot to worry about.

If this were not the case, then Thailand would completely kill the market for professional conventions in Thailand. The Thai government isn't that dysfunctional.

Then again, TIT and if you make enemies, anything and everything can/will be used against you.

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Post by BobHelm » March 6, 2012, 4:10 pm

I would strongly suggest that what rickfarang says is probably the case.
I would also think that if you asked a number of lawyers & immigration officers as to the real legal position that you would get as many different answers as there were people asked.

Yes deliberately being engaged in active employment in any foreign country without the correct paperwork is asking for trouble. But that is because in the majority of instances an illegal worker is depriving a local of employment. That is not the case with the huge majority of work on the Internet, where, in most cases, the work is actually performed for people & companies outside Thailand.

It also depends what you country of birth thinks about the matter. Are you, for example paying taxation, or, more importantly declaring income, to them. If you are then it is highly unlikely that there is an need for any sort of declaration in Thailand.

I also suspect that the amounts of money involved would also have a huge bearing if any ruling was sought. If we are talking about hundreds of thousands of baht in tax avoidance then I would think that the authorities might take an interest, a few thousand it would probably cost more to collect than ignore.

The use of the Internet in order to create an income does make it an interesting question as to whether the income is earnt in the Country where the task is created, or the Country where the task holder is resident.

As an UK citizen it would be impossible for me not to pay taxation on any such income if I was being paid from the UK, regardless of where I was residing. However I am totally unsure what the position would be if I was being paid, for example, out of the USA while residing in Thailand as a UK citizen.
I suspect that unless it was a very large income or that I was extremely unlucky that I could quite possibly 'get away' without paying any Income tax...& maybe 'head for the hills' with my ill gotten gains if I was caught!! :D :D

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Post by Khun Paul » March 6, 2012, 4:25 pm

Interesting comments about Work permits, funnily enough i was having that conversation with my accountant today, it came about appertaining to an aquaitance who is teaching in a school in the province, however he also utilises the internet to on-line teaching with monies being paid through a variety of sources pay pal, direct to bank ( electronic transfer and the like ) .

So under Thai law he is working. Now the school teaching is covered by the Work permit obtained by the school but as with most schools unless they pay you 12 months o=f the year, the work permit may not be valid once the school has shut or they cease to pay you.
Point two, the Work permit normally allows you to teach at that particular school and nowhere else.
Point three which I found interesting, should a complaint be received about foreigners working and obtaining monies without declaring same, not only would they probably be in breach of the employment regulations but also breach income tax rules and incur the wrath of the revenue dept as well as the employment dept, which is a big no no as far as I can see.

I was a somewhat surprised but not badly, income generated by any means not disclod=sed can be a problem when you consider that most foreigners state they have enough income to stay here and unless they are on a ' B ' visa then the points above probably wouldn't apply.

You are right one should invest in a legal company with correct paperwork to enable you to work within Thai law and then you can be rest assured that you will be okay.

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Post by KHONDAHM » March 6, 2012, 5:11 pm

Thanks to those who have replied this far. I had asked Immigration (Mr. Happy) about it when I first applied after he told me I had a B visa (surprised because I recall applying for an O as I'd done in the past). He told me don't worry about a work permit for it as everything was occurring "outside" Thailand for the benefit of entities outside Thailand; and my employing entity was also outside Thailand - and perhaps most importantly - I am paid outside Thailand. Also, [my interpretation of his reasoning at the time is that] my visa does NOT establish residency - it simply allows me to remain as a guest of the Kingdom. [end my interpretation]

The teaching scenario is clearly a case of working in Thailand, yada, yada, yada. I hope the Board is not distracted into an Apple/Orange discussion.

It is a grey area indeed for remote workers servicing out of country customers on behalf of out of country employers. I can think of some pretty good arguments for and against Immigration "letting it slide". Despite having received an answer previously, I posed the answer to the Board hoping that perhaps the treatment under such circumstances is codified somewhere. Asking a lawyer (and I have over the years) gets mixed answers, but without being able to point to a law or precedent specific to the scenario, one gets the feeling "get a permit" is a CYA respon$e. That's fine and dandy, but getting it just to CYA would cost real money and serious inconvenience/hassles over time if it turns out it really is not needed.

Putting a Devil's Advocate spin on the scenario, if I was a Thai national visiting family in the USA and working remotely on a computer physically located in Thailand for the benefit of Thailand companies and being paid by a Thai company to a Thai account:

Would DOL require me to have a work permit and would IRS want to tax it and would USCIS count it as income for purposes of meeting support tests?

I'm thinking no because Uncle Sam would likely require any income to be earned in the USA so it could be verified. If that income is then not recognized by Uncle Sam, then DOL should not require a work permit. Sure, TIT - not USA, but just thinking it through.
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Post by Jing Jing » March 6, 2012, 5:36 pm

A work permit may list more than one employer. There is a place in the book to have two employers and I have done this. If you do this It throws Immigration for a loop. Immigration tries to impose their understanding of the work permit rules and sometimes they are wrong. The Work Permit Officer rolls his eyes when you mention what immigration has told you.

I have an "O" visa but they chose to link it to a work permit rather than money in the bank. :shock:

In the past I have been told by an Immigration official you could have a combination of money in the bank and a job. I suspect any deviation from their sop only invites more complications.

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Post by Khun Paul » March 6, 2012, 5:46 pm

Khondham, while I agree with your thought processes, it was explained to me over two cups of coffee, that IF and I mean IF the Thai authorities were to look into your working ( is outside work for outside company and paid outside, you would have to prove that any monies earned incurred tax liability in the country or origin or country it was paid into, therefore it would mean that you were not working to sustain oneself in the kingdom just as you put it so eloquently just a guest.

the area is grey too bloody grey for individual interpretation to be even greyer, and sums of money passing hands to stay out of trouble, hence the point that was made and I am making , if you intend to work here in any capacity make bloody sure you are bulletproof before embarking on it, otherwise the end result could be very very expensive as they give you no time to discharge your debts or even realise any assets you have, your here one day and gone the next and you ain't coming back.

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Post by Jello » March 6, 2012, 10:56 pm

KHONDAHM wrote: Anyone ever successfully bypass the lady and insisted he help instead? I'm thinking of doing just that when I actually have to do it.
I don't think that would go over well in the Nong Khai office. Some of the folks there seem to be on a power trip. If she told me three months then I'd just grit my teeth and put the 400k in the bank for 3 months. I don't like to F- with people who have the power to make my life difficult. JMHO

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Post by greatsnake » March 6, 2012, 11:52 pm

Jello wrote:I'd just grit my teeth and put the 400k in the bank for 3 months. I don't like to F- with people who have the power to make my life difficult. JMHO
If she doesn't want you to have a visa, you could put 4,000,000 in a bank account for 3 months and still be denied. The Immigration officials have complete discretion in regards to the issuance of visas. :razz:

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Post by KHONDAHM » March 7, 2012, 6:15 am

Well, *surprise* the snafu is that it's now too late to meet the 3 month requirement. I can meet the 2 month requirement OR go the monthly income route. The lovely lady with the golden stamp has taken the 2 month off the table, so I guess it's the monthly income route or risk confrontation.

My wife is trying to call in anonymously with the question and correct her that way so as not to cause embarrassment. At the very least, we hope it would prompt her to double-check the law or ask someone who knows. This is in Udon, btw - not NK. Speaking of which, if I've been dealing with Udon, is it even possible to go to NK? I'm thinking NK would send me back to Udon.

Thanks again to all for the feedback. It is all helpful.
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Post by KHONDAHM » March 7, 2012, 6:21 am

If anyone else is going there soon on unrelated business, perhaps you can raise the issue and point out that the CORRECT requirement for the married monthly renewal is 2 months and not 3? Setting her straight could help a lot of people.
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Post by papaguido » March 7, 2012, 10:26 am

KHONDAHM wrote:If anyone else is going there soon on unrelated business, perhaps you can raise the issue and point out that the CORRECT requirement for the married monthly renewal is 2 months and not 3? Setting her straight could help a lot of people.
or you can ask to speak to her supervisor and let him/her set her straight.

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Post by Jing Jing » March 7, 2012, 10:52 am

or you can ask to speak to her supervisor and let him/her set her straight.
This will not work. Thais do not like to lose face. You are creating win lose situation. I have a letter from the MOFA that states the Immigration Officer may make mistakes but it is not their fault it is your fault because you are supposed to know the law. [-(

Pick up the brochure about Thai wife visa and ask them what does #6 mean? (see previous post)

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Post by Bandung_Dero » March 7, 2012, 12:29 pm

Jing Jing wrote:
or you can ask to speak to her supervisor and let him/her set her straight.
This will not work. Thais do not like to lose face. ........
Wrong! 5 or 6 years ago they actually had a sign on the wall at Nong Khai's Immigration office saying "If you are not satisfied with our service you may speak to the supervisor".

It worked when Mr Happy refused to give me the proof of residence letter for my drivers license. I went up and spoke to the boss he came down and made Mr Happy give me the letter. =D>
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