IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Thailand’s Board of Investment has partnered with the Immigration Bureau and the Department of Employment to launch a new service that will allow BOI-registered companies to file work permit, visa and renewal applications electronically. Those using the service will be provided a digital work permit instead of the work permit booklets that are currently used.

  • What does the change mean? The changes should ease application and pick-up processes for participating BOI companies. The program will be implemented in phases over the next 12 months.
  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/Permits affected: Work permits and visas, including renewals.
  • Who is affected: BOI companies submitting applications for work permits and visas, including renewals, on behalf of foreign nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: The electronic program is expected to save time in the application process. The exact impact is hard to gauge at this point, but the new service will allow applicants to schedule a time online when they can go and pick up their visas. Visa applicants will no longer have to wait in a queue to pick up their visas once processing is finished.
  • Additional information: The Single Window system, as the service is called, will involve a number of steps. Applicants will apply for work permits, visas or renewals online and, once applicants receive a confirmation email, authorities will consider the applications. Successful applicants will receive a notification email and will be prompted to book an appointment to pick up their work permit or visa. At their appointment, applicants will need to provide a photo and digital signature. Digital work permits may be obtained at employment offices or the One-Stop Service Center in Bangkok and employment offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket. Visa stamps may be obtained at immigration offices or the One-Stop Service Center in Bangkok and immigration offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket.

The Single Window system will be implemented in phases as follows:

  • Oct. 1-15: Five BOI-selected companies will be trained to use the system.
  • Oct. 17-20: BOI will begin training a second round of hand-picked companies on how to use the new system.
  • Oct. 24: Companies that have completed training will be able to start using the Single Window system to apply for work permits, visas and renewals.
  • November and December: The BOI will train more companies on how to use the program. Officials are planning as many as four sessions per week, with space available for roughly 30 companies in each session. Training in this phase will be offered on a first-come, first served basis.
  • Jan. 1, 2018: All BOI companies will be required to use the Single Window system when using the One-Stop Service Center in Bangkok or the immigration or employment offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket.
  • October 2018: The Single Window system will be implemented across Thailand.

BAL Analysis: The new work permit and visa service should ease application processes for BOI-registered companies. The program will be implemented in phases, but will become mandatory Jan. 1 for applicants using the One-Stop Service Center in Bangkok or the immigration or employment offices in Chiang Mai and Phuket. It will become mandatory across Thailand in October 2018.