02 Oct Online Work Permits and Visas for BOI Companies in Thailand
Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) announced that it is launching a new system for online work permits and visas for BOI Companies. The BOI will phase in an E-service channel that will allow BOI companies to electronically file work permit and visa applications and renewals for expatriates. Furthermore, with the new Single Window for Visa and Work Permit System, the foreign national employees will receive digital work permits instead of the hardcopy work permit booklet currently issued. The BOI partnered with the Immigration Bureau (IMM) and the Department of Employment (DOE) to allow foreign national employees of BOI-promoted companies to apply for their visas and work permits through a one-time online application. The expatriate employee will have to use a smartphone or other electronic device to register and download their Digital Work Permit from the DOE. Any change in an employee’s work status will automatically be updated and shown on their Digital Work Permit.
This new system will be implemented from October 2, 2017. However, a BOI-promoted company will not be able to use the new system unless the company has completed the BOI Single Window training and workshop. Companies must register online and enrolment will be on a first come, first served basis for two company representatives. Employers are recommended to complete the training without delay. After January 1, 2018, all BOI companies who use the One Stop Service Center (OSSC) in Bangkok and the Immigration Office and Employment Offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket Provinces must use the Single Window system. The Single Window system will expand nationwide starting in October 2018.
Under the Single Window system, applicants apply for work permits, visas or renewals online. After consideration and approval by IMM and the DOE, who will use the info on the BOI platform, the candidate will receive a confirmation email and can book an appointment to complete the final steps of the process. Candidates must come to the OSSC or the Immigration and Employment offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket provinces to obtain their electronic work permit and have their visa stamped in their passport. Being able to book an appointment online will be more time efficient for candidates. In the past, candidates had to show up at the OSSC early in the morning to queue and wait. Additionally, with this new system, applicants do not need to submit any further documents for the Digital Work Permit process. In the past, it was necessary to prepare a work permit application set for the final step of the process. And for visa applications, less paperwork will need to be prepared and submitted for the final step.
The time frame for the phasing in of the new system is as follows:
Phase I – October 1-15: The five pilot companies selected by the BOI will be trained to use the new Single Window system.
Phase II – October 17-20: Other companies will be trained to use the Single Window system.
Phase III – October 24: Companies who have completed the training will be able to start using the Single Window system.
Phase IV– November and December 2017: The BOI has already set the schedule of dates for training and workshops during these two months. The plan is to train approximately 30 companies per day. Companies not able to register in Phase II are still eligible to apply for registration in November and December 2017.
Phase V–After January 1, 2018: 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.
During the transition period, employers should expect the online process to be slower than the old application process. Service interruptions and technical difficulties may also arise and cause delays during the early implementation stages. It currently takes couple days to complete the application process in the old system; however, applying through the new online system will most likely take more days due to the number of steps in the application process. While the online process will be longer for the initial work permit and long-term visa applications, expatriate 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.
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