THAILAND – New Online System Launched for Work Permits and Visas
Effective October 2017, Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI), alongside the Immigration Bureau (IMM) and the Department of Employment (DOE), has launched a new online system for streamlined initial and renewal work permit and visa applications.
The so-called Single Window System will replace the current hardcopy work permit booklet with a new digital work permit (available as an iOS app), allow applicants to book immigration appointments online, and require fewer supporting documents to be provided in hardcopy.
The new system will be implemented in stages from 2 October 2017. BOI-promoted companies must register online for mandatory training on the new system on a first-come, first-served basis.
- 1-15 October 2017: Five pilot companies selected by the BOI will be trained to use the new Single Window System.
- 17-20 October 2017: Other companies will be trained to use the Single Window System.
- 24 October 2017: Companies who have completed the training will be able to start using the Single Window System.
- November and December 2017: Company training continues.
- 1 January 2018: From this date, all BOI companies who wish to use the OSSC 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 should expect extensive delays with their applications if they do not complete the training by this date and continue to use the old system.
- October 2018: The Single Window System will expand nationwide, including for applicants recognised by the new Strategic Talent Center (STC), and working for non-BOI companies (see our previous alert on the STC here.
Service interruptions and technical difficulties may arise and cause delays during the early implementation stages. While the online process will be longer for the initial work permit and long-term visa applications, foreign employees can begin work on the date their candidate nomination application is approved. The new online system will eventually reduce the renewal, amendment, and cancellation processing times.
- BOI-accredited companies employing foreign nationals in Thailand should register for training on the new online system as soon as possible.
- During the transition period, employers should expect the online process to be slower than the old application process.
- Employers intending to hire foreign nationals in Thailand should consult an immigration specialist for the latest information on the Single Window System.