This video by Chaninat & Leeds law firm discusses the registration and operation of foreign NGOs in Thailand and details how non-Thai NGOs may establish activities in Thailand.
The preferred operating form for an NGO operating in Thailand is normally a Thailand registered foundation.
There are many volunteering opportunities available in Bangkok: from social issues, to environmental issues, to health care issues, to minority rights, to human rights, however there are also a number of areas that foreign NGOs are not allowed to operate in Thailand.
Such individuals would be well advised to become familiar with a piece of legislation called the Foreign Business Act (FBA). This sets out the rights of foreign companies in Thailand, as well as what is not permitted.
The first and biggest obstacle is that most, although not all, foreign businesses looking to register in Thailand require a Thai majority shareholding.
It is also possible obtain an alien business license, and Americans can set up an amity treaty company, but many companies prefer to have a Thai majority shareholding. Many foreigners choose to form a Thai majority company, so that the Company is able to operate a business in a category that is restricted to foreigners. The registration of a Thai majority company generally requires less registered capital and less paperwork than the registration of a foreign company. A Thai majority company can also buy land.
Unfortunately some foreign companies choose to take the easy way out. A nominee shareholder is a shareholder in name only: in reality nominee shareholders lacks any real financial stake or interest in the company. Under the FBA, the practice of Thai nominee shareholders is illegal.
There are companies in Thailand who will offer to supply Thai nominees. This is extremely high risk:
you will have no knowledge of who the shareholder of your company is;
they are employees who will probably be listed as shareholders in multiple companies
if they leave employment they have no relationship with you and owe you no loyalty.
This could in part be due to the thriving medical industry. An increasing amount of tourists and expats with disposable incomes are heading to Thailand for treatment which has led to more medical service suppliers setting up shop in Thailand.
Such suppliers need to recognize however that importing pharmaceuticals, or other medical, narcotic and toxic substances into Thailand first requires registration with the FDA.
The Thailand FDA application process must be followed and will differ slightly depending on the type of product that is being imported.
Generally, importers need to provide fairly comprehensive details about the company they will be instructing to import the product, plans and photos of the production facility plant and evidence to show that Thai law requirements have been met in respect of manufacturing.
Fees and the time required for filing product registration application will depend on the item being registered.
FAD applications can be complicated and timely and are a hugely administrative process, conducted solely in Thai. Consulting a law firm that is familiar with the Thai FDA registrationand its processes can help to make sure that applications are expedited and dealt with as smoothly as possible.