Principal outcomes on services and investment

Foreign investment

  • Thailand permits majority Australian ownership of mining operations (up to 60%).  The previous limit was 49.9%.
  • Thailand permits Australian companies which manufacture goods in Thailand to provide distribution services in relation to those goods without limitation of Australian equity (i.e. up to 100%). The previous limit was 49.9%.
  • Thailand permits up to 100% Australian ownership of companies providing certain construction services.[1] The current limit is 49.9%.
  • Thailand permits 100% Australian ownership of companies providing management consulting services through a regional operating headquarters or associated company or branch. The previous limit was 49.9%.
  • Thailand permits majority Australian ownership of major restaurants or hotels (up to 60%). The previous limit was 49.9%.
  • Thailand permits majority Australian ownership of tertiary education institutions specialising in science and technology (up to 60%) (provided it is located outside of Bangkok).  The previous limit was 49.9%.
  • Thailand permit majority Australian ownership of companies providing certain maritime cargo services (up to 60%) [2].  The current limit was 49.9%.
  • The agreement incorporates provisions on investment protection which guarantee a range of rights of Australian direct investors in Thailand, including the right to transfer their funds out of Thailand at any time.  The agreement gives Australian investors the right to seek impartial resolution of any disputes with the Thai government over their investments.

Temporary entry of business people

  • Thailand will grant a visa and work permit for up to five years' stay for all Australian citizens being transferred to work in Thailand within the same company (to be renewable annually) (previously one year).
  • Thailand will grant a visa and work permit for up to three years' stay for all Australian citizens entering Thailand to work on the basis of a contract with an Australian or Thai company other than their employer in Australia (to be renewable annually) (previously one year).
  • Thailand will not require a work permit for Australian citizens who are business visitors conducting business meetings in Thailand for up to 15 days, and up to 90 days for APEC Travel Card Holders.
  • Thailand will consider applications for visas and work permits submitted by an employer on an applicant's behalf and advise in advance of approval and (with visa to be granted on arrival subject to identity verification).
  • Thailand will permit all Australian business visitors access to the one-stop visa and work permit service (previously restricted to visitors representing or employed by major investors).
  • Thailand will permit all Australians who hold work permits to participate in business meetings anywhere in Thailand, including locations not specified in their work permits (previous work permits had to be changed if any work was to be conducted in a location not specified in the permit).
  • Thailand will reduce the number of documents required from Australians for work permits and renewals and work permits.

Future commitments

  • Thailand has made an undertaking to further negotiations on services and investment to enhance its commitments across the board.  Thailand has also agreed specifically to explore the scope for improving its commitments in a number of areas of priority interest to Australia, including:
    • negotiations on financial services
    • negotiations on telecommunications services
    • extending the initial period of visas and work permits for intra-corporate transferees to three years, with a total stay of up to 10 years
    • provision of offshore processing and granting of visas and work permits
    • granting of automatic work rights for spouses of intra-corporate transferees
    • abolition of labour market testing
  • [1] Relating to services to the public in utilities or transport requiring special tools, machinery, technology or construction expertise.
  • [2] Port and waterway operation services including marina facilities, provided the facilities included a ship lifter, inland berthing and a ship yard for maintenance and repair.

Last Updated: 16 October 2015