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Legal Update

Visa Applications and Extensions Made Easier

13 February 2009
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update
In an effort to aid companies hit by the economic downturn, the Royal Thai Police released Order No. 777/2551 which relaxes the visa requirements for companies in Thailand hiring foreigners.
Order No. 777/2551, issued on 25 November 2008, introduces changes to the criteria and requirements for visa applications. These changes will prevail in conjunction with the previous requirements stipulated in Order No. 606/2549 released in 2006.
Full Update
Order No. 606/2549 stated that a company wishing to hire a foreigner must have an audited balance sheet of the latest financial year which shows:
  • Total earnings of not less than the total amount expected to be paid for salaries, wages and all other benefits for all foreigners who are employed by the company in the following financial year; and
  • Shareholders’ equity of not less than THB 1 million.
Companies which did not satisfy the above requirements were not allowed to apply for or extend the visas of their foreign hires. 
Given the lacklustre performance of the economy in 2008, and the dim prospect of an economic recovery this year, using these criteria may bar some companies in Thailand from hiring, or continuing to hire, foreigners.
In contrast to the financial status of the company under Order No. 606/2549, Order No. 777/2551 places emphasis on the overall stability of the employing company and whether it will operate its business continually, by taking into account the following points:
1. The company operates the business in accordance with its registered objectives.
2. The company has  financial statements certified by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with no conditions. If the CPA places conditions on the financial statements, the conditions must not concern the ongoing nature of the business.
3. The company's balance sheet reflects changes in the following items in the previous year:
  • Cash
  • Cash in financial institutions
  • Accounts receivable
  • Merchandise inventory
  • Other current assets
  • Trade accounts payable
  • Borrowings
  • Other current liabilities 
4. The company calculates depreciation or impairment of assets on items such as land, buildings, and equipment.
5. The Notes attached to the financial statements does not state "No operation of business".
6. The company submits a Value Added Tax Return Form (Phor. Phor. 30 or Phor. Phor. 36) every month.
7. The company submits the Specific Business Tax Return Form (Phor. Thor. 40) every month.
8. The company submits the Withholding Income Tax Return Form (Phor. Ngor. Dor. 1) every month.
9. The company submits the Social Security Fund Return Form (Sor. Por. Sor. 1-10) every month.
Thus, in addition to an audited balance sheet of the previous year, companies must now submit their latest three months' Social Security Fund Return Forms, Withholding Income Tax Return Form, VAT Return Forms, and the previous year's Profits and Loss Statements as supporting documents when applying for or extending the visas of its foreign hires with the Immigration Bureau.  
For further information, please contact:
Learn more about our Bangkok office and Employment & Benefits practice.

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