Thailand has become one of the most popular destinations for a new generation of digital nomads who seek to work and travel on their own terms. There are many advantages to working in Thailand as a freelancer: the low cost of living, tropical climate, generally relaxed environment, numerous recreational activities, and plenty of cafes and co-working places to get stuff done at.
The one big disadvantage that many nomads simply gloss over is the questionable legal status of freelancing in Thailand. It is technically illegal to do ANY work in Thailand while staying on a tourist visa and without holding a Thailand work permit. Even volunteers who don’t earn a salary are required to obtain a work permit to carry out their activities within the Kingdom. Thai Business visas and Thai work permits require the sponsorship of a local company in order to be issued.
So how can freelancers—working for themselves—operate out of Thailand on the right side of the law?
Freelancer: Partner With Iglu To Work in Thailand
The obvious answer to the freelancing legal gray area is to team up with a Thai company who will hire you to carry out your work. Iglu is just such a company. Most Thai companies are very limited in the number of foreign workers they are allowed to employ. Iglu, however, has been awarded special status by the Thailand BOI (Board of Investment) as one of several companies working to increase Thailand’s footprint in the tech sector. This allows us to employ a large number of foreign workers who meet the education and experience requirements.
Freelancers invoice their clients through Iglu, which then pays out a salary and Thai taxes based on the amount earned. The 70/30 split typically gives you more take-home pay than you’d have working in your home country, and the certainty of your legal status takes away a significant stress factor of living in Thailand long-term. Technically speaking freelancers do become employees of Iglu however they carry on working for their clients as they normally would through Iglu’s Umbrella Partnership Program.
How Does Working with Iglu Benefit Freelancers?
The first major benefit to working with Iglu is that we’ll take care of all the documents needed to get your visa and work permit. You’ll receive a 1-year business visa that is renewable annually. Travel outside the country only when you wish to—not because you’re forced to do a visa-run as those staying on back-to-back tourist visas frequently find themselves doing. A Thai work permit is also a handy document to have when a foreigner wishes to open a new bank account, purchase a vehicle, or obtain a Thai driving license.
The 30% from your client bills that Iglu takes out goes towards many things that you benefit from. Your Thai income tax is included in this amount, which makes Thailand a tax home—allowing most nationalities an exemption from paying income tax in their home country. Your enrollment in Thailand’s social welfare program is also calculated from this amount. This allows you full medical treatment at your chosen hospital without having to pay anything out-of-pocket. It’s very comforting to know you can see the doctor anytime you are ill without having to worry about the cost.
You also get free use of Iglu’s office space. You can choose to base yourself out of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, or Phuket. Our offices in all three locations provide you with a comfortable air-conditioned environment to get your work done. Flatscreen monitors are provided for you to have additional screen real-estate to work with. And the fastest WiFi available in the country is at your disposal. All the espresso coffee you can drink is another perk that many of Iglu’s “eskimos” take advantage of.
In addition to all that, you’d also be joining a group of nearly 100 professionals from all over the world. If you have a specialized task you need done to move your project or business forward, there’s a good chance we can find someone with a matching expertise.
What are the Requirements for Iglu’s Freelancer Partnership Program?
In order to qualify for a business visa and work permit in Thailand there are some requirements you’ll need to meet. If all the following apply, then Iglu can work with you…
- You work in software development, design, marketing, or another tech related activity
- You have a relevant university degree plus 2 years experience in your field, or at least 5 years total experience
- You are at least 22 years old
- You have an existing client base or you’re able to find your own clients
- You earn a minimum of $2500 USD / month
- You can commit to a 1 year contract
What Are You Waiting For?
Are you tired of sketchy visa-runs every few months and the uncertainty of freelancing in Thailand under the radar? Now is the right time for you to start working in Thailand legally, get a work permit and visa, and leave all the hassle to us. Tell us about yourself, and we’ll see how we can work together.