Jump to content
BANGKOK 18 August 2019 08:14
Sign in to follow this  
Ijustwannateach

Red Tape For Teachers

Recommended Posts

This is a Visa site, after all- but in Thailand the dark murky business of visas is horrendously and unnecessarily byzantine and confusing. So before people start talking in form numbers and Thai jargon at you, take a look at the following overview of "The Process" which makes a foreign teacher legal and up-to-snuff in Thailand (I also originally wrote this on Ajarn.com):

The question post on the forum from a Thai-American teacher was simple enough... 'How do I get a teachers license...'

Ok, I'll be gentle here and give the impressionistic version....

The Thai teacher's license is more or less simply bureaucratic paperwork filled out as part of the whole bizarre, inefficient process here of getting a real, legal job.

If you are working for the REAL international schools, they will take care of the whole licensing thing, work permit, and visa extension for you, more or less. If you are NOT working for them, chances are you'll never hear of a teacher's license OR a work permit (or anything longer than a tourist visa).

Here's the way it's supposed to work IN THEORY:

1. You get hired (theoretically from abroad) by a school which is licensed to sponsor and hire foreign teachers (they'll all say they are, but only a very few REALLY are).

2. They send you papers and you head down to your local Thai consulate/embassy, where if the school is "on the list" (whatever that means) and they can FIND the list, they will actually give you a non-immigrant B visa, which is permission to come into the country for the purpose of further paperwork, NOT officially an allowance to work.

3. You go into the country and get the non-imm B stamp in your passport. Your school now theoretically has 90 days to process your work permit. I believe it is technically illegal to employ you during this period, but everyone does anyway.

4. If the school is REALLY going to give you a work permit, and not just stringing you along with one-month visa extensions for the 6 months of the term that they actually plan to employ you without paying for a vacation, then they must prove to the Ministry of Education that you are qualified to be employed as the kind of teacher they're employing you for. No one seems to know what these qualifications really are, though mostly they seem to mean having a college degree in some field or another. There are mixed reports that a "Thai culture" class is required, but this requirement is "not enforced," whatever that means. Most international schools will have the clout to ignore this, and if they will really hire you then you will most certainly have enough paper to pass this hoop.

5. Now that you have your visa (permission to enter and seek employment) and your teacher's license (a check that you are really, honestly qualified somehow), you can go to the Labor Dept, where for an exorbitant fee which your school might pay you will be given a work permit, which is LEGAL permission to work and be taxed in Thailand. This does NOT, however, by itself constitute an extension of your visa. For that, you must head back to:

6. The Immigration Dept., where it all started, and where you are now allowed to get the one-year extension attached to your visa (which is probably already 2-4 months old anyway, if you're lucky). This one year is from the ORIGINAL date of the visa, I think. But you're still not safe, because they still force you to go in every 90 days and pay another wonderfully large fee for the privilege of letting them know your current address. Furthermore.....

7. If your work permit is cancelled by the school (because they've decided that backpackers from KSR are cheaper), you must leave the country 7 days later or pay overstay fines, even if the school doesn't actually tell you they've cancelled the WP until you call and ask them 2 months later.

But if you're a REAL Thai person as opposed to a "Thai-American- (i.e., you have a Thai passport, not just Thai parents), then you can work here anytime anyway, right? On the other hand, if you're not a card-carrying farang, you may find the schools don't care to hire you- it's racist, of course, but they like the white face.

Still wanna come?

"Steven"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5. Now that you have your visa (permission to enter and seek employment) and your teacher's license (a check that you are really, honestly qualified somehow), you can go to the Labor Dept, where for an exorbitant fee which your school might pay you will be given a work permit, which is LEGAL permission to work and be taxed in Thailand. This does NOT, however, by itself constitute an extension of your visa. For that, you must head back to:

3,000 Baht for a teachers word permit isn't bad compared to the 10,000 Baht 'normal' people pay! And 1,900 to extend by (generally) 9 months to get you to the full year (as you said it starts from initial date of entry, generally!).

6. The Immigration Dept., where it all started, and where you are now allowed to get the one-year extension attached to your visa (which is probably already 2-4 months old anyway, if you're lucky). This one year is from the ORIGINAL date of the visa, I think. But you're still not safe, because they still force you to go in every 90 days and pay another wonderfully large fee for the privilege of letting them know your current address. Furthermore.....

There is NO fee for registering your address and in almost 4 years here I've NEVER had to do it myself. I do it by messenger, but you can do it by mail!

Other than that pretty spot on mate! How's yours going? Sorted?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As usual, Ken, your comments are correct- but I was never trying to be too much of a stickler on that message- it was mainly meant as a cynical overview of the evil Process without bogging down too much in the details!

My papers are almost sorted, but I've been advised by coworkers to wait until after the Great Visitation For Visa Extension (coming next week) to address the issue I discussed with you! Either way, I'll be in touch! I want to play PS2 games, too!

:D:o

"Steven"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to advice like Steven's, I was forewarned to expect ignorance. My first school specifically said I was on my own for things like visa, work permit, or teacher's license. In other words, they wouldn't lift a finger and I wouldn't get any. Next school (same province) was glad to hear that I didn't expect such things, because they had no idea how to obtain them, no matter that I provided the detailed list. Seven months later, when my mate requested a TL, they decided govt. schools don't need TL's, but they'd help us get WP. She drove us to the Labour Dept, where they hadn't the first clue as to how to get WP for teachers. Never had done it, and the province claims a history of more than 500 years.

So, if they say, "We'll get you blah blah blah," and you're being interviewed on the premises, ask to see the file of the prior farang who were issued visa, TL, or WP through their help. It should take ten, at tops maybe 25 minutes to bring you the file. So, if they don't show you the file within 25 minutes, there is no file. They're lying. Run as fast as you can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should add it is possible, but generally it doesn't apply to teachers, more for business people although I'm sure some of the big International schools have probable done it for their teachers, to change a proper (i.e. 60 day) tourist Visa into a Non-imm B at Immigration!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I should add it is possible, but generally it doesn't apply to teachers, more for business people although I'm sure some of the big International schools have probable done it for their teachers, to change a proper (i.e. 60 day) tourist Visa into a Non-imm B at Immigration!

It's definitely possible for government schools, though I must say I didn't believe it until I saw it happen. I quizzed the school about this (and why they hadn't done it for me a year previously) and they said it was a "new rule brought in for Thai government schools" - that was about one year ago. I have no idea if they knew what they were talking about (experience suggests not!) but the procedure worked and was definitely hassle free. Incidentally, I've never had problems with getting/renewing my visa and work permit. I visit the Labour Office / Immigration myself and it has been an absolute breeze, actually something I look forward to. Guys, why are you having problems?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got my Non-imm B outside of Thailand a few years ago, renewing is simple (like you all I have to do is go to Imm to extend once a year!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I should add it is possible, but generally it doesn't apply to teachers, more for business people although I'm sure some of the big International schools have probable done it for their teachers, to change a proper (i.e. 60 day) tourist Visa into a Non-imm B at Immigration!

It's definitely possible for government schools, though I must say I didn't believe it until I saw it happen. I quizzed the school about this (and why they hadn't done it for me a year previously) and they said it was a "new rule brought in for Thai government schools" - that was about one year ago. I have no idea if they knew what they were talking about (experience suggests not!) but the procedure worked and was definitely hassle free. Incidentally, I've never had problems with getting/renewing my visa and work permit. I visit the Labour Office / Immigration myself and it has been an absolute breeze, actually something I look forward to. Guys, why are you having problems?

So is it correct that this gets you to step 3 of IJWT's seven step program? That what the govt school gets you via this new rule is a NonImB, but not yet a WP or one year extension? So it basically saves you having to leave and come back?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess the rumors are confirmed, then! Though you do actually have to find a government school that's willing to go through all the paperwork... and it takes them ages usually.

"Steven"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although I think you need to be on a 'proper' tourist Visa, a 30 day on entry stamp I don't think is doable!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first job here was at a government secondary school and the had us working for two months before getting all the paperwork sorted out. Amazingly, we only had to go downtown twice for both the Immigration Dept. and the Labor Dept. The school took care of all fees and had everything done by an "agent" who bought somebody a nice basket of fruit and other goodies. Most foreigners are probably working illegally and being how the law is here, it will probably continue that way. I wouldn't worry about the boys in brown dragging you off to the BKK Hilton for not working legally...they have more important things to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My first job here was at a government secondary school and the had us working for two months before getting all the paperwork sorted out. Amazingly, we only had to go downtown twice for both the Immigration Dept. and the Labor Dept. The school took care of all fees and had everything done by an "agent" who bought somebody a nice basket of fruit and other goodies. Most foreigners are probably working illegally and being how the law is here, it will probably continue that way. I wouldn't worry about the boys in brown dragging you off to the BKK Hilton for not working legally...they have more important things to do.

I'm really glad to read this. I don't want to work 'illegally' but from all I've read in the last year, I was resigning myself to the fact that I would have too. (I have the quals. but need some hands-on experience on my cv). If a school lies about sorting out a permit, I don't really want to "run", however I don't EVER want to live with a risk of deportation.

The only direct experience I had was when a bar I was in had a random visitation from the boys in brown, every falang that wasn't carrying his passport got a 5,000 Baht fine (I had my passport!). There was only one exception, and that was a well turned out English guy who told them he was a teacher and named the school. He got let off despite having no passport on him, and no WP supporting the job.

That incident made me think that these rules are tough and, at times, seem racist. But, at the end of the day, they are in place to keep out the dregs of falang society, not those that want to put in an honest day's work. :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Bean...there is an ongoing debate about all this red tape and this debate will probably continue indefinitely due to the inconsistent rules and enforcement of these rules and also the personal experiences of the farang teachers in question. Most folks wouldn't want to work illegally and I don't blame them...I certainly wouldn't. However, you must consider that although having proper teaching qualifications and experience is always a plus for your students, Thailand's ESL industry is in dire need of teachers and will take just about anybody who looks halfway decent and sports a smile when they walk through the door. In a way I feel bad for a lot of truly dedicated, qualified and experienced foreign teachers working in the many schools and language centers here as their skills and dedication are being wasted/taken for granted. Much of the teaching here is more of a show than actually teaching and those who look as if they're teaching, dress politely, don't stink and don't argue much with the administration will get on just fine. This is of course not taking into consideration the behavior of the students which bothers a lot of foreign teachers.

Teaching contracts are often broken in Thailand and usually it's not the sole fault of either the school or the teacher...it's generally on both parties. Teachers who don't do what is asked of them or break other rules (cultural or school rules) may end up in a tough situation when the school decides to violate their part of the deal or just get rid of them all together. Likewise, a teacher may be fed up because he/she is doing their part but the school is taking advantage of them in some way or simply not paying them on time (or at all in some cases). It's customary to give a month notice before leaving a teaching position, but often teachers will collect their paycheck or cash at the end of the month and disappear. Depending on the situation, this breaking of the contract may be a result of a bad attitude/lack of responsibility on the teacher's part or something a bad school deserves. Either way, despite foreigners not having much in the way of rights here, breaking a teaching contract will not cause you any serious legal problems like it may in the West...of course it could damage your reputation and hamper your chances of landing a decent teaching job somewhere else but then again that rule applies anywhere you work.

I wish you luck in landing a good job at a good school :o I remember some time back somebody mentioned on ajarn.com about a sign that was on the wall in a teacher's room. It said: "A Happy Teacher Is A Good Teacher". I am starting a new job teaching at a bilingual school this month and I can tell that this place abides by this rule...in fact one of my bosses has already mentioned it. Having worked at a typical school which doesn't care too much about their teachers, this place looks to be very welcoming. If you find such a school, you will be happy and you will WANT to do a good job. Also, you'll be actually teaching and not filling the role of a clown. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...