A confused man not knowing which jobs are available for foreigners in Thailand

As a foreigner, trying to get a job in Thailand can be a bit more tricky than back home. This is because, in your home country, there’s probably no restriction on what kind of job you can get. As long as you are qualified and have the experience, you can potentially get hired for just about any role.

However, this is not the case if you are a foreigner trying to get a job in Thailand. The Thai government has a list of “prohibited jobs” that are only allowed to be done by Thai citizens.

Although this may seem prejudicial or unfair, the law is in place to protect the common Thai worker.

But please do take a look at the wide variety of jobs posted on GoWorkThailand.com. Despite the restrictions, you may be surprised at just how many jobs are still available for non Thais.

So with that in mind, here’s the list of prohibited jobs for foreigners in Thailand.

List 1: Strictly prohibited

Occupations that are strictly prohibited for foreigners include:

  1. Wood carving
  2. Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a domestic mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft or forklift driving
  3. Auction
  4. Cutting or polishing diamond or precious stones
  5. Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment
  6. Cloth weaving by hand
  7. Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw, bamboo, bamboo pellicle, grass, chicken feather, coconut leaf stick, fibre, wire or other materials
  8. Mulberry paper making by hand
  9. Lacquerware making
  10. Making Thai musical instruments
  11. Nielloware making
  12. Gold ornaments, silverware or pink gold making
  13. Bronze ware making
  14. Thai dolls making
  15. Alms bowl making
  16. Silk products making by hand
  17. Buddha images making
  18. Paper or cloth umbrella making
  19. Brokerage or agency work, except brokerage or agency working in international trade or investment
  20. Thai massage
  21. Cigarette rolling by hand
  22. Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation
  23. Peddling
  24. Manual typesetting of Thai characters
  25. Silk reeling and twisting by hand
  26. Clerical or secretarial work
  27. Legal services or services in legal proceedings, except for the following occupations:
    1. Performing duties of arbitration
    2. Providing assistance or representation in the arbitral proceedings in the event that the law applicable to the dispute being considered by the arbitrators is not the Thai law

List 2: Prohibited with exceptions

Prohibited occupations for foreigners with a condition that foreigners are allowed to work under international agreements or obligations to which Thailand is bound under the provisions of laws are:

  1. Controlling, auditing, performing or providing accounting services, except:
    1. Occasional internal audit work
    2. Work under international agreements or obligations to which Thailand is bound, which the Professional Association provides a certificate
  2. Civil engineering concerning counselling, project planning, design and calculation, construction supervision or manufacturing, inspection, administration work to organise the system, research and test, except those who are registered under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and other international agreements
  3. Professional architectural work concerning project study, design, construction management and supervision, inspection or consulting, except for professional architects under the ASEAN MRA for architectural services and other international agreements

List 3: Exceptions for skilled or semi-skilled workers

Prohibited occupations for foreigners with an exception that foreign workers are allowed to do skilled or semi-skilled work when working for an employer include:

  1. Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery
  2. Bricklaying, carpentry or construction works
  3. Mattress or quilt blanket making
  4. Knifemaking
  5. Shoemaking
  6. Hat making
  7. Dress making
  8. Pottery or ceramic ware making

List 4: Exceptions under treaties

Prohibited occupations which foreign workers are permitted to perform under the condition of having employers and permitted to enter Thailand by Immigration Law under MoUs or agreement between the Thai government and the foreign government are:

  1. Labour (manual work and simple work which requires physical strength)
  2. Shop front sellers (selling goods at a wholesale or retail establishment as well as selling goods at stalls or shops located in markets or roadsides)

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