Thailand has toughened the punishment of foreigners for illegal work
Five years in prison for work without permission
For work without official permission or work for a profession banned for foreigners, violators will be punished with a prison sentence of up to 5 years and / or a fine of 2 to 100 thousand baht ($ 60 to $ 3000), the statement published on Wednesday - The website of the Employment Department of the Ministry of Labor of Thailand. Employers who take foreigners to work without the permission of the department will be punished with fines of 400 to 800 thousand baht (12 to 24 thousand dollars) for each illegally hired foreigner. Those who appoint a foreigner who has permission to work not specified in the document issued to him will have to pay a fine of 400,000 baht (12,000 dollars) for each such alien, and the employee himself will be fined 100,000 baht ($ 3,000) .
The new decree provides severe punishment for employers who, when hiring foreigners, convince the latter that in Thailand
it is possible to work without the permission of the Employment Department. For misleading foreigners, the term of imprisonment from 3 to 10 years and / or a fine of 600 thousand to 1 million baht (18,000 - 30,000 dollars) is now punished for each deceived.
The decree also prohibits the withdrawal from foreigners of unauthorized persons of work permits issued by the department and other documents proving their identity.
The risk for Russians working in the field of tourism and catering is growing
Illegal recruitment of foreigners and illegal employment of foreigners have been prosecuted in Thailand since the adoption of the first relevant laws - back in the 1940s. However, the previous penalties were less severe and were limited to a period of imprisonment from six months to two years and / or fines of up to 100,000 baht ($ 3,000).
In reality, most often for illegal work in Thailand, a foreigner was sentenced to fine and deportation. For employers, fines of up to 100,000 baht ($ 3,000) were provided for each employee without authorization.
Illegal work of foreigners in Thailand is most common in the service sector, primarily in the tourism sector. Owners of small travel companies and public catering establishments, including Russians, often try to save on permits: their registration requires considerable expenses and takes considerable time.
In addition, Russians working as guides in large tourist companies, but designed as translators or "coordinators" (the profession of a guide for a foreigner in Thailand is prohibited by law), run the risk of being accused of working in a banned specialty or in a specialty not specified in the permit for Work.
The share of Russians working without formalities is large
"According to my 13-year experience in the honorary consulate in Pattaya, I can say that (especially in the peak season), the proportion of Russians working, let's say, without observing all the relevant formalities, is quite large," says Viktor Kriventsov, general manager of Thai tourism Company Ilves Tour, more than 20 years worked in senior positions in the hotel business in Thailand and for a long time former deputy honorary consul in the provinces of Chonburi and Rayong.
"It's not so much in the unlawfulness of their or their employers, as in some subtleties of local legislation," explains Kriventsov. For example, to work as a tourist guide a foreigner (in this case a Russian citizen) is prohibited.
"However, there are practically no qualified Russian-speaking Thai guides. There are perhaps a dozen of them all over the country. Therefore, tour operators have to get out. As far as I know, travel companies usually still try to formalize Russian employees, but not as guides, but as translators working in conjunction with an English-speaking local guide, "the expert says.
The second problem, according to Kriventsov, is that the tourism business is highly prone to seasonal fluctuations.
"There is no concept of a seasonal work permit in Thailand - more precisely, maybe it is on paper, but in practice it does not exist. And this means that you can apply for a job only on a permanent basis, at least for a year. And after all, taxes and other statutory deductions must then be paid in the same year, even though a person really works, and the firm receives income only during the season, "he explains.
The third problem is that Thai law requires a certain capitalization of the company so that it can officially take a foreigner to work. To make a work permit for a foreign employee, it is necessary to significantly increase the authorized capital of the business, while maintaining the legally binding ratio: from four to seven local workers per each foreigner.