Foreign barbers are prohibited from working in Thailand, government recalls

Thailand recalled that foreign barbers are strictly prohibited to work in the country, as well as 26 other jobs.

Barber hair salon in Thailand
Hair salon in Bangkok, Thailand | © KeN, 2022

The Ministry of Labor of Thailand recalled that foreign barbers were not allowed to work in Thailand.

Pairote Chotikasthira, director-general at the Department of Employment, issued a reminder after the case of a South Korean hairdresser in Thailand spurred debate online on the rules in the country, according to the Ministry’s note published on February 17.

In Thailand, the Foreigners’ Working Management Emergency Decree prohibits foreigners from certain job activities. It is meant to “maintain state security”.

The law was created when Thai culture and nationalism were exacerbated by Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the military dictatorial prime minister from 1938 to 1944.

During his first mandate as Prime Minister, Phibun, or Marshal P., engaged in a Thai Cultural Revolution boasting nationalism inspired by Italian fascism.

As part of his will to raise the Thai nation, he changed the name of the country from Siam to Thailand, encouraged the use of a standardized and common Thai language, and also issued a dozen cultural decrees on how to be a good Thai citizen.

He supported economic nationalism and embraced anti-Chinese sentiments.

40 jobs forbidden to foreigners in Thailand

Nowadays, a total of 40 jobs or job categories are restricted for foreigners under this law last modified in 2018.

And any service related to beauty – working in beauty salons, being a hairdresser or barber – is strictly prohibited to foreigners as well as 26 other jobs.

Wood carving, making Thai dolls, Thai musical instruments or Buddha statues, cutting gems and precious stones, offering Thai massages, being a broker, being a secretary or working in legal services are all inaccessible to foreigners.

Another list of 13 jobs is permitted for aliens under international agreements or cooperation sealed between Thailand and the worker’s country of origin.

Conditioned to these working agreements, foreigners in Thailand may be allowed to do agriculture work, masonry or carpentry. One may also make knives, shoes, or pottery.

Foreigners who don’t respect Thai law can be fined 5,000 to 50,000 baht (US$151-$1,510) and expelled. Employers can face a penalty from 10,000 to 100,000 bath ($302-$3,020).

Similarly, most businesses must be owned, or at least the majority of shares, by a Thai national.

Read more about Thailand

Thailand Department of Employment, February 2022, Free access

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