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jspill

Can one be an informal educator without a work permit

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I saw it posted in another thread that if one doesn't contribute to the grade of a student, or teach in a formal licensed school classroom, they can teach and be paid as an 'informal educator' without a work permit. http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/794216-17-foreign-english-teachers-arrested-in-chiang-mai-for-working-illegally/page-2#entry8975109

Was just curious if this is the case, e.g. if one offers themselves for conversation practice over coffee on Craigslist and only ask to be compensated for travel costs to a cafe or whatever, are they breaking the law?

I googled and couldn't find any threads on this. Not that I teach but I see a lot of people moaning about 'illegal teachers', does that apply to tutoring privately outside of a formal classroom with no grades or exams involved?

Edited by jspill

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My Thai wife has a friend who is part of a team that does the government school "inspections". The ones you know are coming if suddenly things get repainted, or a bunch of potted plants are purchased, or if the school wants you to print out a year's worth of lesson plans, etc.

Anyway, what she told me was that for private, verbal-agreement type work (like private tutoring), you don't need a work permit, to pay taxes, etc. as long as:

1) You don't have any more than 7 students going at any one time in your home / workplace.

2) You don't have more than one group of students (even if the total adds up to less than 7) being taught by multiple people going at any one time. So, one can't teach a class of 3 English students while their wife/friend/whatever teaches a group of 3 students art or Thai or whatever in another room on the same premises.

3) You don't advertise by putting up a sign, billboards, or do anything else that identifies your home or workspace as a business or school or whatever. This one makes sense in relation to other businesses, like cafes and Mom and Pop restaurants, who often don't have a sign up because if they did they would have to pay tax.

However, I also got the caveat that IF someone with clout takes notice of what you are doing and they take exception to it, they CAN make things difficult for you even though the rules should technically allow what you are doing to be perfectly legal. Which should seem pretty par for the course here in the Land of CorruptionSmiles. Basically, I wouldn't worry too much about that other than to be extra careful about item 3 up there. Stay small, advertise by word of mouth, and if you take the work seriously and put effort into it you'll quickly have a full plate to the point that you have a waiting list of people who want to start up studying with you. And you'll still be small enough to avoid any interest of labor office / whatever. If you want to develop beyond that point and what those 3 points above allow for, to be safe you'd want a Thai ownership structure and to get more by-the-book paperwork filed, etc. Although at that point, you're pretty much working for a private language school, where I think it is fair to assume that the onus is on them to play by the rules... Which they often won't if they think they can get away with it.

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And the law is clear on taxes, if you earn money in Thailand you pay income tax on it (after deductions) whether it is from extra mural teaching or renting out a condo.

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I will, of course, bow to the other posters better knowledge of the rules. The person I talked to wasn't associated with the labor dept., so she could have been entirely wrong, right for Thais but wrong for farangs, or just going by what would be a problem in the de-facto situation here.

...That being said, doing things "by the book" tends to work better in places where there aren't so many versions of the book. Or interpretations of each version. And heck, even in the US one is technically supposed to report earnings from verbal contract labor (babysitting, mowing lawns, handyman, etc.) to the IRS. But in practice, most people aren't going to unless that makes up a significant portion of their income AND it is a nontrivial total amount. Practice here is going to be ... somewhat more lax than that.

I have a feeling that if you walked into a labor department office and said you wanted a work permit so you could legally tutor people 1 on 1 via Craigslist appointments, for which you would be paid back only for travel expenses/lunches ... they'd laugh and tell you to stop wasting their time.

But like Gulfsailor said, don't get confused between a work permit and a teacher license or teacher license waiver. In general, for stuff like private language schools, universities, etc. you don't need a teaching license or waiver, but you would need a work permit. Government and private schools for primary and secondary students will require a permit and license.

Edited by LecheHombre

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You can defend dishonesty and corruption until you're blue in the face, but in the end you need a WP to be legal.

To work without one is illegal.

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"My Thai wife has a friend who is part of a team that does the government school "inspections".

​ My friend's friend had a friend, who's friend was my friend's cousin. facepalm.gif

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You can defend dishonesty and corruption until you're blue in the face, but in the end you need a WP to be legal.

To work without one is illegal.

Or wishful thinking. In a country, where you even need a work permit to do voluntary work, then anything beyond isn't worth to talk about.

To work without a work permit and tax registration number might be okay for a short period of time.

But: " What goes around, comes around." -facepalm.gif

Edited by lostinisaan

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My Thai wife has a friend who is part of a team that does the government school "inspections". The ones you know are coming if suddenly things get repainted, or a bunch of potted plants are purchased, or if the school wants you to print out a year's worth of lesson plans, etc.

Anyway, what she told me was that for private, verbal-agreement type work (like private tutoring), you don't need a work permit, to pay taxes, etc. as long as:

1) You don't have any more than 7 students going at any one time in your home / workplace.

2) You don't have more than one group of students (even if the total adds up to less than 7) being taught by multiple people going at any one time. So, one can't teach a class of 3 English students while their wife/friend/whatever teaches a group of 3 students art or Thai or whatever in another room on the same premises.

3) You don't advertise by putting up a sign, billboards, or do anything else that identifies your home or workspace as a business or school or whatever. This one makes sense in relation to other businesses, like cafes and Mom and Pop restaurants, who often don't have a sign up because if they did they would have to pay tax.

However, I also got the caveat that IF someone with clout takes notice of what you are doing and they take exception to it, they CAN make things difficult for you even though the rules should technically allow what you are doing to be perfectly legal. Which should seem pretty par for the course here in the Land of CorruptionSmiles. Basically, I wouldn't worry too much about that other than to be extra careful about item 3 up there. Stay small, advertise by word of mouth, and if you take the work seriously and put effort into it you'll quickly have a full plate to the point that you have a waiting list of people who want to start up studying with you. And you'll still be small enough to avoid any interest of labor office / whatever. If you want to develop beyond that point and what those 3 points above allow for, to be safe you'd want a Thai ownership structure and to get more by-the-book paperwork filed, etc. Although at that point, you're pretty much working for a private language school, where I think it is fair to assume that the onus is on them to play by the rules... Which they often won't if they think they can get away with it.

All this if you have this and if you have that is nonsense. Even if you're not paid to perform some work duty, you need a work permit and receiving any sort of pay makes it ridiculous to claim you are not employed.

Could you get away with it? Maybe but those "teachers" recently arrested in Chiang Mai didn't fare to well on the assumption they weren't "really" working in Thailand.

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/794216-17-foreign-english-teachers-arrested-in-chiang-mai-for-working-illegally/?hl=%2017%20%20chiang%20%20mai

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You can defend dishonesty and corruption until you're blue in the face, but in the end you need a WP to be legal.

To work without one is illegal.

Or wishful thinking. In a country, where you even need a work permit to do voluntary work, then anything beyond isn't worth to talk about.

To work without a work permit and tax registration number might be okay for a short period of time.

But: " What goes around, comes around." -facepalm.gif

" Or wishful thinking. In a country, where you even need a work permit to do voluntary work, then anything beyond isn't worth to talk about."

Hopefully you're being sarcastic. If I volunteer to paint a building, that means a Thai painter would lose the income for doing it. If you present yourself at a rural hospital to do voluntary surgery, is that OK with no rules and regulations or should they just give you the keys to the surgery?

And as the tsunami follow-up showed, you can't have masses of unregistered "volunteers" doing their own thing with no oversight. Work is work. I doubt Thais could just pitch up in your country and start "volunteering" for whatever suited their fancy without any interference or regulation.

If you want to do legitimate volunteer work in Thailand for which you are qualified and do it through a recognized charitable organization, you can do it legally just by complying with the rules.

Edited by Suradit69
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I am the one who wrote the post he is talking about.

I would like all of you to go

Section 4 (6)

And tell me what that means.

I called up the immigration and asked them about a permit for this. She said, if you don't have a sign and you are small no need to get a work permit.

I told her I was worried my neighbour would report me. She laughed and said they had better things to do. She said immigration would not come.

People should really read the national education act. Home tutor comes under section 15 (3)

And 18 (3) it is also protected by the king in the old constitution. 49,51,52.

Which is what section 4 (6) is referring to. Some people talk about taking money. But if you read the act. We are entitled to. The thing that you must do is pay tax. I went out to the tax office on changwatana. They fixed it up for me. I pay a couple of thousand every 6 months. Everybody is happy.

I don't know why nobody understands that section 4. Even the Thai don't seem to know it's there. Education in the home has its own laws. Separate from business and some other laws.

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As i once had asked to lawyer, what is working in Thailand.

He didnt answer quite well, coz is breathing, walking, making your food or what ever normal thing you do in life working?

Coz those are all activities.

He just came up with being a volunteer or being helpfull with administration for nothing in an apartment building association.

They were both work, so work permit

I talked to a canadian in CM who refused to help a friend to move a TV, coz as he said it's work and i dont want to lose

my retirementvisa as of someone taking a picture and show it to immigration office.

So remains again the question what is work in Thai law?

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I am the one who wrote the post he is talking about.

I would like all of you to go

Section 4 (6)

And tell me what that means.

I called up the immigration and asked them about a permit for this. She said, if you don't have a sign and you are small no need to get a work permit.

I told her I was worried my neighbour would report me. She laughed and said they had better things to do. She said immigration would not come.

People should really read the national education act. Home tutor comes under section 15 (3)

And 18 (3) it is also protected by the king in the old constitution. 49,51,52.

Which is what section 4 (6) is referring to. Some people talk about taking money. But if you read the act. We are entitled to. The thing that you must do is pay tax. I went out to the tax office on changwatana. They fixed it up for me. I pay a couple of thousand every 6 months. Everybody is happy.

I don't know why nobody understands that section 4. Even the Thai don't seem to know it's there. Education in the home has its own laws. Separate from business and some other laws.

" I called up the immigration and asked them about a permit for this. She said, if you don't have a sign and you are small no need to get a work permit."

I always thought the Immigration issues visas, checks foreigners and anything regarding overstay,etc....

The Immigration is not the right address to ask such a question. What "her", in this case the Immigration officer you phoned said is irrelevant, because the right place to ask such a question would be the Department of labor.

If you have an income, which you now have, you must have green light doing so. I don't buy your story with the tax office and the "couple of thousand baht".

Who's doing the calculation how much tax you're paying? The tax office, based on what you're telling them? C' Mon.........

BTW, good luck with your neighbor. facepalm.gif

Edited by lostinisaan
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I am the one who wrote the post he is talking about.

I would like all of you to go

Section 4 (6)

And tell me what that means.

I called up the immigration and asked them about a permit for this. She said, if you don't have a sign and you are small no need to get a work permit.

I told her I was worried my neighbour would report me. She laughed and said they had better things to do. She said immigration would not come.

People should really read the national education act. Home tutor comes under section 15 (3)

And 18 (3) it is also protected by the king in the old constitution. 49,51,52.

Which is what section 4 (6) is referring to. Some people talk about taking money. But if you read the act. We are entitled to. The thing that you must do is pay tax. I went out to the tax office on changwatana. They fixed it up for me. I pay a couple of thousand every 6 months. Everybody is happy.

I don't know why nobody understands that section 4. Even the Thai don't seem to know it's there. Education in the home has its own laws. Separate from business and some other laws.

" I called up the immigration and asked them about a permit for this. She said, if you don't have a sign and you are small no need to get a work permit."

I always thought the Immigration issues visas, checks foreigners and anything regarding overstay,etc....

The Immigration is not the right address to ask such a question. What "her", in this case the Immigration officer you phoned said is irrelevant, because the right place to ask such a question would be the Department of labor.

If you have an income, which you now have, you must have green light doing so. I don't buy your story with the tax office and the "couple of thousand baht".

Who's doing the calculation how much tax you're paying? The tax office, based on what you're telling them? C' Mon.........

BTW, good luck with your neighbor. facepalm.gif

I'm not a #### liar. I went to the tax department. I paid tax on my home tutor money. I have the receipt. Call up the labour department. Education as a separate law to other occupations. It is protected. You cannot stop one human from giving knowledge to another human. Go and read the law.

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