Do I need a work permit to play the stock market?

I am a foreigner living in Thailand with my Thai wife and our children. I have a non-immigrant “O” visa. I hear horrible stories about work permits, the different interpretations of “work” and the consequences of not having a permit. These stories include being blacklisted regardless of your family ties and investments in Thailand.

I don’t want to work here illegally. I love Thailand, its culture and the locals. I want to abide by the country’s laws. I am a private online investor in stocks, commodities and currencies in foreign markets. I work from my home here in Thailand.

Setting up a Thai company is not an option. I want to avoid any misinterpretation by labor departments and/or immigration authorities and also any dangers to my family by not abiding by local laws.

I’ve searched the web and asked various lawyers, but still have not received a comprehensive answer.

All my investment accounts, stock exchanges and brokers are located outside of Thailand. Is my work legal? Do I need to apply for any type of work permit?

Worried private investor in Thailand

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1 Answer(s)

Stock investment is not lawfully defined as work. As long as you are not working, you do not need to apply for a work permit.

For example. If you are a shareholder or an executive of a company, but you do not sign documents related to the daily functions of that company, you do not need a work permit.

However, you must pay income tax if you receive a stock dividend.

The only documentation we are authorized to issue to foreigners working here is a work permit. If you do not work, there is no official documentation that can be issued to you.

Noppadol Ployudee, chief of the Phuket Provincial Employment Office.

Answered on September 1, 2011.
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