Thailand: Online System for Work Permit and Visa Applications Launched
The Board of Investment (BOI) is launching a new online system that will allow BOI-registered companies to apply for their employees' Work Permits and Long-Term Visas online. Although the new system is intended to replace paper documents with electronic versions for convenience, it is still uncertain if it will eventually reduce the processing time of immigration applications. The online system will be implemented in several phases starting October 2017, and it will be mandatory nationwide by October 2018.
Board of Investment (BOI) is launching a new online system to file Work Permit and Long-Term Visa applications.
A closer look
- The online system, called the Single Window for Visa and Work Permit System, will be implemented in several phases starting October 2017, and will be mandatory nationwide by October 2018.
- Foreign nationals will be able to use the system to obtain a new Digital Work Permit to evidence their right to work in Thailand instead of the hardcopy work permit booklet.
- Foreign nationals will be able to use a smartphone or other electronic device to register and download their Digital Work Permit. Any changes to their status, such as cancellation or amendments, will automatically be reflected in their Digital Work Permit.
BOI-registered companies must register online for a mandatory training workshop. Training slots will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis and each company will be initially allowed to send two representatives to each session. Employers should register for the training workshop immediately.
The online system will be implemented as follows:
- Phase I (October 1-15): Five pilot companies were selected and have already been informed of the training to use the system.
- Phase II (October 17-20): Additional companies who have registered for the workshops will be trained to use system.
- Phase III (October 24): Companies who have completed the training will be able to start using the system.
- Phase IV (November and December 2017): Continuation of training and workshops for additional companies.
- Phase V (January 1, 2018): Date on which all BOI-registered companies who wish to use the One-Stop Service Center in Bangkok and the Immigration Office and Employment Office in Chiang Mai and Phuket Provinces will be required to use the Single Window system. Companies who have not yet completed training by this date may attempt to continue filing using the old procedure but will experience extensive delays with their applications.
What this means for employers and foreign nationals
Processing an application through the new online system may take longer due to the number of steps involved that span several days, as compared to the manual application process which currently takes only one day to complete. It is uncertain if this will change in the future.
Affected employers should expect lengthier processing of their employees' initial Work Permit and Long-Term Visa applications, However, this should not have an impact on work ready dates since foreign nationals can work upon approval of their Candidate Nomination application. Furthermore, the switch to a Digital Work Permit is expected to eventually reduce the renewal, amendment, and cancellation processing times.
Processing on the new system will likely be slower during the transition period, compared to the manual application process. Service interruptions and technical issues resulting in delays should be expected during the early phases of implementation.
We worked closely with Dej-Udom & Associates Ltd. to prepare this alert. It is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to APCCInitiations@fragomen.com.