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If I’m currently working for 1 company, and am going to start my own business, how does it work re my visa and work permit?

      If you are currently working for an employer in Thailand and wish to start your own business, you have a number of options.

      These options depend on whether you are going to continue working for your employer as well as running your own business or whether you are going to leave your employment to run your business full time.

1 Staying employed and running your own part time business

       If you are planning to stay employed and run a part time business most employers will not have any issue with this as long as it is not in direct competition with them and there is nothing in your contract which prohibits you from doing this. Be aware that your current work permit will not cover you for running your part time business and if you wanted to be 100% legal you would need to set up a Thai company and ask your employer if they would add your duties at your own business as a second job into your work permit. You would most likely need to pay for this and cover their labour costs to do this but if you have a good relationship with your employer then hopefully they would be prepared to consider it. Your visa and work permit are still dependent on your full time job and are considered to be the property of your employer

2 Leaving your current employer and setting up your own business

       If you wish to terminate your current employment and set up a full time business of your own then there a number of timely steps which you need to consider.

  • It is normal to leave the country to obtain a new Non B visa when changing employers as there is only a very small window between terminating your old job and starting your new one in which to get things done. This is often easier for the new employer and many will tell you that you must leave the country to obtain a new visa even when it isn’t strictly true.
  • If you have a visa extension based on employment, your permission to stay will end on the day which your employment ends. Your work permit must then be cancelled at the labour office and you must attend your local immigration office to obtain a 7 day permission to stay extension at the end of which you must leave the country permanently or obtain a new visa to return.
  • However, if you are starting your own business, you and your business/visa consultants have control over this process and can have everything already in place so that when your old work permit and visa are cancelled you can apply for a new one straight away.
  • In order to do this you would need to setup your Thai company while you are still working for your old employer, find office premises, hire 4 Thai staff and register for social security. Upon completing these steps you should be ready to apply for a new work permit as soon as your old one is cancelled.
  • If you don’t have the time or funds to complete these steps before finishing work for your old employer then you will need to exit the country and return with a new visa.

           If you need help regarding visa runs, Non B visa, company setup or anything else regarding Thai company law please contact [email protected]

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