Connect with us


Dive instructors not restricted to Phuket, says employment office

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Local dive instructors do not need to obtain work permits for every neighboring province they visit with students, dive professionals learned yesterday at a day-long seminar organized by the Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO).

The purpose of the seminar was to clarify work permits and related legalities of working in Thailand, specifically for professionals in the dive industry (story here).

The seminar was organized in response to widespread complaints from foreign dive instructors that they had been extorted by police for violating job descriptions stated in their work permits.

The complaints led to a national-level investigation of the Chalong Police force, which resulted in the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) recommending two officers be charged with extortion (story here).

More than 100 members of the Phuket dive industry, both Thai and foreign, attended the seminar and submitted written questions to the speakers. The most popular question concerned geographical limits of the work permit.

“If my company has a program to take students diving in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi, Surat Thani and Ranong, are instructors allowed to accompany them?” was one such question.

“You have to work at the location indicated in the work permit,” responded Somchai Morakotsriwan, an officer from the Legal Division of the Department of Employment Bureau, who chaired the seminar.

“In this case, I advise the dive company to add this information to the employee’s job description as part of the work permit application. The description should state that the instructor sometimes has to train students out of Phuket and it should give the specific locations where the training will take place.”

Those divers who already have work permits that do not specify this information can get their work permits amended, Mr Somchai noted.

“You may request an addition or correction to the work permit at anytime, but please note that it will come into effect only once we have made the changes.”

The more precise companies are in describing jobs their staff will do, the fewer “holes” the job description will have, he added.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut noted when the extortion allegations were made that “holes” in work permit job descriptions allowed corruption to occur (story here).

Job descriptions in work permits are stated only in Thai, and Mr Somchai was asked why they were not written in English as well.

“We don’t have enough officers who can communicate well in English. There are only about 10 in the employment office who speak English well,” Mr Somchai said through a translator.

“The solution is to ask a translator to provide you with an English version, and carry that with your work permit.”

Some attendees expressed frustration with the lack of English.

“I still don’t get it, why would the Thai government issue work permits in Thai language for foreigners who can’t read Thai at all,” said a dive company employee who declined to be named.

“They said they don’t have many staff who can speak English, but I think they could outsource the translations. It wouldn’t cost much.

“It doesn’t make sense that people who are affected by a document can’t understand what it says. However, it’s the law and we have to follow it.”

Addressing the issue of extortion was Maj Gen Ronnapong Saikaew, Deputy Commissioner of Region 8 Police.

“I can’t stand it when a few officers destroy the good image for all police. We have a lot of non-corrupt officers,” Maj Gen Ronnapong said.

“We have had no extortion complaints since the March 10 episode,” he said. “But sometimes it’s hard to know about them if the business operators do not tell the police.”

Gen Ronnapong expressed his support of dive operators and explained that he had taken the position of vice president of the Association of Thailand for Underwater Sports (ATUS), the organization founded recently to formally represent divers.

“This means that I will know about every problem right away, and will be able to assign Phuket Police to solve them,” he said.

A final question asked whether divers needed to have their work permits on their person at all times, even in the water.

Taking the permits underwater is not necessary, Mr Somchai said, but work permits should be nearby.

“Don’t leave them at home,” he said.

— Saran Mitrarat


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 mins ago

Sunday Covid Update: 15,335 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)36 mins ago

Covid UPDATE: 15,335 new infections, provincial numbers

Coronavirus Infections41 mins ago

DDC says infections still rising, possibly falling in Bangkok

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

DDC says use the QueQ app to book appointment at sports stadium in Pathum Thani

Business2 hours ago

Inside story behind the Thailand property seachange

Thailand3 hours ago

Domestic flights added to Phuket/Samui, CAAT says be careful

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)3 hours ago

4th body found on a Bangkok street

Events5 hours ago

Where have all of Thailand’s boat shows gone?

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Sunday: 15,335 new infections, news briefs

Indonesia12 hours ago

Man with Covid-19 disguised as his wife to board flight

Hua Hin14 hours ago

Kitchen raiding elephant breaks same wall in house for more food

Thailand15 hours ago

1st Taekwondo Olympic gold as Panipak wins for Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

AstraZeneca Thailand writes open letter to people of Thailand

Koh Samui20 hours ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand23 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8