Act exempts AIT from work-permit need
In my capacity as AIT legal counsel I would like to respond to a factually inaccurate letter published in The Nation on February 10 by Mr Thanin Bumrungsap, AIT Alumni Association (Thailand) president, on the topic "Non-extension of visa is purely a legal issue".
On the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website under the section "Guidelines for Diplomatic Missions, Consular Posts and International Organisation", the Diplomatic Privilege and Immunity Division, Department of Protocol, clearly lists AIT, with a section on the classification of staff members as well as issuance of visas.
I refer to Supreme Court case No 3757-3758/2554, a 2011 ruling that the AIT "is an international organisation established in accordance with the Agreement between the Thai government and Seato, having the objective of the operation of a technology institute for both inside and outside Thailand, on a non-profit basis. The Thai government has granted privileges with regard to taxes, immigration including the exemption from income tax and business tax."
Below are some facts providing further insight.
The AIT Enabling Act, BE 2510 (1967), under Section 6, states, "Aliens approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs … shall be exempt from the quota and duration-of-stay provisions of the immigration laws for as long as they enjoy the status of members of the Board of Trustees; members of the Executive Committee and other Board Committees; officials of the Institute; dependent spouses, children and relatives … who travel from abroad; students, their dependent spouses and children."
The Foreign Employment Act, BE 2551 (2008), is not enforceable regarding expatriates performing their duties under agreements the Thai government made with foreign governments or international organisations, as provided in Section 4 of the same legislation.
Additionally, ever since the establishment of the Seato Graduate School of Engineering in 1959 and its conversion to the Asian Institute of Technology in 1967, the registrar, as per the Foreign Employment Act, has never ordered expatriate administrators, faculty members or officers of the AIT to apply for work permits.
Based on these points, I am of the opinion that these expatriates at the AIT are not required to apply for work permits.
(Editor's note: This subject and all other matters pertaining to AIT are now closed.)