As part of my changing employers in Thailand, it also means that I have to cancel my work permit and visa from my previous employer so I can apply a new one.
This is how I did mine as of this date. However, be reminded that every so often the laws and regulations change regarding work permit and visa in Thailand. The process may also differ from each province. I did mine in Samut Sakhon since my agency is located there. It is about 1- 1.5 hours travel from Bangkok by bus. So to be certain, I advise you to ask your HR or your agency about the steps first.
- Set the last date of employment
The first step is for you to agree with your employer the last date of working with them. This date should be the same on the cancellation forms that you will be presented to the Labour and Immigration. You can also try talking with your employer to extend the date if you need more time applying for another job or time to get yourself ready because the last date also means the date you can only stay in Thailand.
- Request for Letter of Cancellation of Work Permit and Visa
These are the forms that you need to prepare. You can ask these from your previous employer. My experience was not that easy because my agency has a new staff who doesn’t know about this forms so I had to do it myself. I downloaded the cancellation form online. You can click here.
Let your previous employer sign or put the school’s stamp on it.
For the cancellation letter of visa, you should mention the date you started working with the company and when your last day will be.
- Go to the Labour and Immigration Office.
Once you’ve got it all ready, you need to go to these offices before or on the same date as your “final working day”. There is a new rule about the cancellation of work permit in which it’s only the employer who can cancel the work permit. Before, the employee can do it by himself. One staff from my agency went with me to the Dept. of Labour. I handed them my work permit together with the form and they put a red stamp on the form and told me to present it to the Immigration.
Next, go to the Immigration Office with your passport. Give them the form stamped from the Labour and the cancellation letter of your visa from your company. They’ll check the dates and maybe ask you to photocopy your passport and then stamp your passport the date that was stated in the letter.
The date is important because if the day you come to the immigration is the same date as your last day in your work, they will give you an extension of 7 days for 1,900 Baht. That means you have 7 days to process your new visa or exit the country.
For overstay, you must pay 500 Baht/day and that is something we don’t want.
- Wait for your next work permit from new employer
From this point onwards, you must keep in touch with your new employer for the processing of your visa and new work permit. Send all the requirements they will need so you will have your work permit as early as possible. However, in most cases, you might need to exit Thailand and return with a tourist visa valid for 30 days to have more time of processing your documents.
My Story of Unfortunate Event
The way I did all of the steps was not as smooth as I wanted. As I mentioned, my agency has a new staff who handles visa for foreign employees and she has no idea about the cancellation. When I asked for the forms, they never replied or made any indications to help me. So I did research on my own. I asked some of my friends and colleagues and wrote the cancellation letter with the help of a Thai friend and only went to the agency for their signature and stamp. We made several mistakes with the letter as it was written in Thai and the staff can’t speak English. It took me about a week of coming back and forth to the agency, have them sign it, go to immigration, back to agency again and so on.
I mentioned that the last day of employment on the letter is important because I had that mistake on my letter and the officer told me to pay for my overstay and 7-day extension. I said it was just a mistake and I went back to the agency to change the date.
So, you should understand how relieved I was when it was all done. It was like a thorn was removed in my chest.
LESSON OF THE STORY: The lesson I have learned from this experience is to accept the reality that there are individuals or entities that will take advantage of your skills and hard work. I do think my agency is one of those. They got a part of my salary every month but every time I asked for help, they would tell me they don’t know. I have to keep bugging them until I get the help.
We have different opinions about agencies and your experience may be totally different from mine but if you’re planning on working with an agency, do a background check first. Ask people around who have worked for them and if you’re happy with it, then go for it.
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