They often work on tourist visas, though some may have an ikamet for at least living here legally. The government probably knows about this, but seems to turn a blind eye. When the inspectors arrive at a school, all the teachers are sent home. At the same time, all the teachers have signed contracts. I hear varied opinions of the contracts. One is that because they are in English, they are nonbinding.
How do the authorities become aware of illegal workers?
The validity of employment contracts
Can teachers sue the school for not obtaining work permits?
The work permit should be obtained before starting work.
It is forbidden for employers to employ any foreign employees if the foreign employee does not have a work permit.
Consequently the employees, in our case the English teachers, cannot sue the school for not obtaining work permits. However, it would be possible to sue the employer if the employer was supposed to pay all expenses for the work permit and assist (hiring a lawyer for obtaining the work permit) the employee in obtaining a work permit.
If they are working here illegally and sue, does that put them at risk of being deported?
Is there any fine for the employee or the employer?
For the employees
The illegal workers working for an employer (and not self-employed) will be subject to a fine in the event the authorities become aware of the illegal worker. The amount of the fine is roughly around $600 for the illegal worker. If the illegal worker keeps working without a permit the fine shall be doubled.
Those illegal self-employed workers will be subject to a fine at an amount of (roughly around) $1200 for the illegal worker. If the illegal worker keeps working without a permit the fine shall be raised twice as much.
For the employers
The employers who recruit illegal workers will be fined in the event the authorities become aware of the illegal worker. The amount of the fine is roughly around $3,000 for each illegal worker recruited. In the event the employer keeps working with illegal workers, the fine shall be doubled the next time.
The employers shall also be obliged to pay the illegal worker’s and its family’s accommodation costs as well as pay for their return home.
Are there any further sanctions?
The illegal workers will be reported to the Ministry of Interior.
The employers who employ illegal workers can be fined for misinforming the authorities and the fine for this is around $6,000.
Please obtain a work permit before you start to work. It would be a good idea to ask the school to assist you in obtaining the work permits. Please get assistance from professionals before you sign any agreement and before you apply for a work permit.