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Special Work Permit Fee In Chonburi?


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:D I'm in a quite stupid situation at the moment, and don't really know what to do. May be someone has experience how to handle such issues and can give me an advice?

It is about my work permit, which is in process a long time already. Too long. I have supplied all required paperwork over and over again, and also the company's financial status is no problem. However whenever the application comes back from the authorities, they demand additional information or paperwork. Ridiculous stuff. I almost lost my temper when the agency requested again more papers from me. However this time I had a friend accompanying me, who is fluent in Thai, and he listened to the discussions of the agency's Thai staff, while they tried to explain me what paperwork I need this time (that's why I asked him to come with me, to listen, I wanted to know if they play a game with me...) Long story short, this is what was discussed there:

My paperwork was and is fine, that is why my application is not rejected. However the new assistant department head there (in Chonburi, where the Pattaya work permit applications are approved) will not proceed without a special fee of 17,000 baht (no typo, seventeen thousand), paid to him personally. And that seems to be not just for my work permit, but for any work permit approval there. Now the agency does not know how to tell that to me, and is also not willing to pay that out of their own pocket.

Can you imagine how furious I am now :o

I'm out of Thailand for some days, but I need to get this resolved quickly, I invested too much and the business requires me working, and not hiding. So I'm almost ready to pay this fee. On the other side I think this is bad, very bad, and I don't want to reward these people by paying.

Then again, I have no illusions, if I complain in public about this they will most probably remain untouched, however I will be on some personal blacklists. So, is there another way? Is there a real anti-corruption agency in this lovely country? An agency which takes action without making it impossible for me to continue living and working in Thailand?

I'll be traveling a lot the next days, thus I might not answer quickly, but nevertheless, I appreciate any helpful advice.

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When you say "agency", I assume you're using a 3rd party company to go and lodge the work permit application at the labour department on your behalf?

If that's the case then I have a feeling it's the 3rd party agency that's taking you for a ride, not the labour department.

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When you say "agency", I assume you're using a 3rd party company to go and lodge the work permit application at the labour department on your behalf?

If that's the case then I have a feeling it's the 3rd party agency that's taking you for a ride, not the labour department.

You think so?

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Reading your post it appears you are trying to deal directly with the labour department.

The addictional fee is no surprise. Especially since it's Pattaya. But the amount is a bit of shock. It would buy a lot of tea.

Most people, companies and businesses don't even bother trying to get a work permit on their own for this reason.

I suggest you find a lawyer or agent to act as the middleman for you. I think you will find it cheaper than paying the special fee on your own

You can try to report it but you would be opening a can of worms that you might not want to deal with.

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When I applied for my first work permit in Chonburi about 4 years ago, and it was being kicked back, a Thai told me to give a birthday card with cash inside to the clerk handling the application. The next time I included the card ("Happy Birthday" written on the envelope) with the application package and I got the permit the next day. There is a new manager there now, so I don't know what the deal is now. Renewals have not been a problem so far. How much, you ask, did I give? Five hundred Baht.

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Can’t really give you any advice, but can share my own experience. I’ve had a Non B visa and work permit since 1999, the last 4 years through my own company. I’ve never had to pay any tea money to either immigration or labor department. I live in Chanthaburi and process all documents here. I don’t go through a visa agency, but use my staff to handle the paper work. I do however use an accountancy firm that help prepare the correct documents (I pay them a monthly fee of 5000baht to do all my legal paperwork/accounting for the company).

I have quite a lot of farang friends both here and in Bangkok and none have ever had to pay any tea money either (as far as I know and it’s been discussed quite a few times). Maybe we’ve been lucky! There are of course a lot of requirements that needs to be met such as audited balance sheets etc, but if this is in order you should be ok. Don’t know if it’s possible for you to use another labor department, but I think you need to apply at your local office. You’re in a tough spot as you obviously need your work permit to go through.

Tompa,

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Suggestive selling:

Find out where you report corruption to the government, get some of their paperwork (brochures) and next time you go to check on your work permit be sure the brochures or paperwork are visible (but don't put them in anyone's face) in the paperwork you carry and maybe your problem will go away.

Doing things like this in a "quiet" manner usually gets attention and results.

It's not a direct threat but they will see that you have done research and know where to make a report. It might convince them that the 17,000 Baht tea money isn't worth a corruption investigation and move on to the next potential victim.

Once you make a "tea money" payment, you're in for the entirety and it's much more difficult getting out then. Fight it now or forever live with it.

Martian

Edited by Martian
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Suggestive selling:

Find out where you report corruption to the government, get some of their paperwork (brochures) and next time you go to check on your work permit be sure the brochures or paperwork are visible (but don't put them in anyone's face) in the paperwork you carry and maybe your problem will go away.

Doing things like this in a "quiet" manner usually gets attention and results.

It's not a direct threat but they will see that you have done research and know where to make a report. It might convince them that the 17,000 Baht tea money isn't worth a corruption investigation and move on to the next potential victim.

Once you make a "tea money" payment, you're in for the entirety and it's much more difficult getting out then. Fight it now or forever live with it.

Martian

I wouldn't dare to do this. Implicitly threatening to report them, might result in them visiting your place of work later on to check if you are really only doing things that are within the job description in the work permit book, and they WILL find something amiss. Consequences could be grave then.

A foreigner starting a conflict with a government institution has the odds stacked very heavily against him.

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My paperwork was and is fine, that is why my application is not rejected. However the new assistant department head there (in Chonburi, where the Pattaya work permit applications are approved) will not proceed without a special fee of 17,000 baht (no typo, seventeen thousand), paid to him personally.

17k is not a major amount of money to grease the wheels of the administration.

Knowing a lot of guys in the employment agency business in Thailand, they tell me, the sum total first time around for a Work permit is around US$ 1000 a time to ensure things progress smoothly, this obviously includes the official fees as well as the un-official fees..

As another poster has stated, this is the cost of doing business in Thailand

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Let him/her come to your work place and try to make trouble, in the end you can lodge a corruption complaint against them if necessary. Afterall, it is they who are breaking the law.

I've dealt with corrupt officials many times and the only way to deal with them is to not let them push you around and give them the message that they can't extort money from you. How you do this depends upon the level at which the situation has gone to.

I've sat across the table from a police officer in the police station trying to extort money from me all the while he was suggestively touching his holstered handgun. I basically told him in a nice way that I wasn't guilty, wasn't going to pay and if he didn't stop threatening me with his gestures he would be very sorry. I was released with no charge, didn't pay anything and I heard later he had been run out of town by others (Thais) whom he tried to extort.

You can stand up to corruption, just do it in a way that is firm and allows the perpitrator to get the message and stop without losing face.

To continue to cave into such corruption only allows it to grow. Up to you, but to do nothing only breeds it further.

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Let him/her come to your work place and try to make trouble, in the end you can lodge a corruption complaint against them if necessary. Afterall, it is they who are breaking the law.

I've dealt with corrupt officials many times and the only way to deal with them is to not let them push you around and give them the message that they can't extort money from you. How you do this depends upon the level at which the situation has gone to.

I've sat across the table from a police officer in the police station trying to extort money from me all the while he was suggestively touching his holstered handgun. I basically told him in a nice way that I wasn't guilty, wasn't going to pay and if he didn't stop threatening me with his gestures he would be very sorry. I was released with no charge, didn't pay anything and I heard later he had been run out of town by others (Thais) whom he tried to extort.

You can stand up to corruption, just do it in a way that is firm and allows the perpitrator to get the message and stop without losing face.

To continue to cave into such corruption only allows it to grow. Up to you, but to do nothing only breeds it further.

And let me guess, in all your years in Thailand, you have never paid tea money to a traffic cop who has pulled you over for a real or ficticious traffic violation..??....If you have really commited an offence you hand over the DL and follow the nice policeman down to the cop shop to pay the fine..??

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SOUTPEEL 17,000 is a lot of money to 'grease' the wheels as you say. 500baht is a friendly tip (even if you have to do it). 17,000 is extortion, plain and simple. and if you have the correct paperwork you should NOT have to pay. if on the other hand your paperwork is suspect then it's required and it's your own fault. I agree with Martian on this one. and yes i have had to pay the extortion that SOME traffic cops pull. BUT i don't like it. especially when you know they are lying. but again its a smaller amount.

Allan

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SOUTPEEL 17,000 is a lot of money to 'grease' the wheels as you say. 500baht is a friendly tip (even if you have to do it). 17,000 is extortion, plain and simple. and if you have the correct paperwork you should NOT have to pay. if on the other hand your paperwork is suspect then it's required and it's your own fault. I agree with Martian on this one. and yes i have had to pay the extortion that SOME traffic cops pull. BUT i don't like it. especially when you know they are lying. but again its a smaller amount.

Allan

:o:D ....pot,kettle, black, its not the amount thats important, on one hand staying THB 17,000 is extortion, but then admittng to giving "tips" and bunging a traffic cop (but you didnt like it)

The word...."Hypocrisy" springs to mind...

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How long has your application been in? What kind of business is it? Bar or Hotel could take a long time.

It can take 3 months or longer without paying the speed up fee and depending on type of business.

If you have time I would just sit and wait, eventually they will process the WP for free.

If the process is taking a long time then they are probably not sure if you are competing

with Thai's or Thai owned Business and will have to investigate.

If you are competing with Thai the WP will be rejected and you will have to pay the tea money for the WP!

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Thanks, guys, for all your comments!

When you say "agency", I assume you're using a 3rd party company to go and lodge the work permit application at the labour department on your behalf?

Yes

If that's the case then I have a feeling it's the 3rd party agency that's taking you for a ride, not the labour department.

That's what I thought at first, and that's why I had my Thai speaking friend with me to "listen" :o and what he heard is what I reported above. The agency never told me that directly, or asked me to pay that "fee". This part is what my friend understood while listening to staff there, talking to each other, in Thai, but not talking to me:

My paperwork was and is fine, that is why my application is not rejected. However the new assistant department head there (in Chonburi, where the Pattaya work permit applications are approved) will not proceed without a special fee of 17,000 baht (no typo, seventeen thousand), paid to him personally. And that seems to be not just for my work permit, but for any work permit approval there. Now the agency does not know how to tell that to me, and is also not willing to pay that out of their own pocket.

Thus I'm pretty sure it's not the agency playing games here, but it's a real problem.

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Reading your post it appears you are trying to deal directly with the labour department.

The addictional fee is no surprise. Especially since it's Pattaya. But the amount is a bit of shock. It would buy a lot of tea.

Most people, companies and businesses don't even bother trying to get a work permit on their own for this reason.

I suggest you find a lawyer or agent to act as the middleman for you. I think you will find it cheaper than paying the special fee on your own

You can try to report it but you would be opening a can of worms that you might not want to deal with.

ubonjoe, as said above I use an agency/law firm. But I agree, the amount seems to be very high, too high.

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I have quite a lot of farang friends both here and in Bangkok and none have ever had to pay any tea money either (as far as I know and it's been discussed quite a few times). Maybe we've been lucky! There are of course a lot of requirements that needs to be met such as audited balance sheets etc, but if this is in order you should be ok.

As far as i can judge my company's paperwork is absolutely OK. That's what makes me so furious, because it is not that I would need them to do me any favor, just to do their job.

Don't know if it's possible for you to use another labor department, but I think you need to apply at your local office. You're in a tough spot as you obviously need your work permit to go through.

Tompa,

I got told that I have to use the local one, here Chonburi, no choice. Or move the company to Bangkok, and then get the work permit there.

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Suggestive selling:

Find out where you report corruption to the government,

That's one of the reason I posted here, I remember reading that there is such a place, where I can report this, in English, and even per email, but I don't find it now. :o

get some of their paperwork (brochures) and next time you go to check on your work permit be sure the brochures or paperwork are visible (but don't put them in anyone's face) in the paperwork you carry and maybe your problem will go away.

Doing things like this in a "quiet" manner usually gets attention and results.

That would mean I have to go their myself, and not have the agency handling it for me.

It's not a direct threat but they will see that you have done research and know where to make a report. It might convince them that the 17,000 Baht tea money isn't worth a corruption investigation and move on to the next potential victim.

Once you make a "tea money" payment, you're in for the entirety and it's much more difficult getting out then. Fight it now or forever live with it.

You're right, Martian. That's the choice. I'd prefer to fight it, but I don't know how to do that best.

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How long has your application been in? What kind of business is it? Bar or Hotel could take a long time.

It can take 3 months or longer without paying the speed up fee and depending on type of business.

If you have time I would just sit and wait, eventually they will process the WP for free.

If the process is taking a long time then they are probably not sure if you are competing

with Thai's or Thai owned Business and will have to investigate.

If you are competing with Thai the WP will be rejected and you will have to pay the tea money for the WP!

Please forgive me if at this moment I don't want to bring in details which can identify my company, you never know who is reading this :o however it's not a bar or hotel, but a business a Thai cannot do, it mainly involves exporting specific products and services, which requires contacts in and business know how of the target countries. It brings money into Thailand. I'm not aware of any Thai business I might be in competition with.

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Report it to the PM's office. Calling 1111 for any further information. I'm pretty sure that they will help you out.

I have complained once through the Pm's office. They took care of it very fast. (I'm thai citizen)

The problem is you are foreigner. You may have a little problem about communicating with them.

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Report it to the PM's office. Calling 1111 for any further information. I'm pretty sure that they will help you out.

The problem is you are foreigner. You may have a little problem about communicating with them.

Why..... the PM was born in Newcastle and educated at Oxford..??... :o

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Somtam,

Getting the first WP is always the hardest and it is pretty normal for a fee of about 10,000 to find it's way to someone in the system, the rest is just travel money and payment for time for the agency.

It is quicker and a lot easier to pay this and then in the future do all the extensions yourself. I was in and out of the Chonburi office in about 4 minutes today!

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I have an accountant that handles all work permits etc. and have never had any problem. The accountant costs me 3,000 Baht monthly with another 2400 Baht or so for Social Security etc for my 4 employees within my firm. I do remember paying a lot to set up this company initially, but, that was because I had to set up the firm in Bangkok and then move it to this province as they stated they never had a Thai Amity firm here.

What irks me.... are the countless people living here that have no work permit, Visas of any type, or paying no taxes, yet running establishments catering to the public or teaching here. I wish someone would clean these "freeloaders" out.

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