Retirement and Working
If you have met the requirements for the retirement visa and settled in Thailand you may be thinking of working part-time. You cannot work in Thailand without a work permit.
Working illegally in Thailand will get you arrested and deported even if you are volunteering. Even volunteers need a work permit. The first problem with working legally in Thailand after you have extended your work permit is that your stay in Thailand will change from the retirement visa to the length of the work permit. If after 2 months you decide not to work and return your work permit you have to leave Thailand and apply for a 90 day retirement visa again and start the process again. Consider carefully if you wish to work in Thailand and starting your retirement visa application from scratch.
Most common professions in Thailand for the retired:
Teaching in Thailand
You will need a criminal clearance certificate from home, a Thai cultural certificate which takes about a month to obtain after attending a training course. This certificate will set you back about 15,000THB. You then also need a teacher license and they will more likely than not look for a TEFL certificate as well which costs about 30,000THB and 6 months of training. If you are going this route then you might re-consider your retirement and seek employment instead as you would be wasting a lot of your money on the retirement visa process.
You don’t need a work permit for this if you are doing it at home. Many expats who have retired in Thailand sell goods on Ebay or write eBooks at home when they have nothing to do. As long as you are doing everything online this is normally not a problem.
Open a Bar
There have been a few before you. You will not get a work permit for this however you could have your own place to invite friends and let a Thai national manage the business for you. As long as you don’t do any work there is nothing illegal about it. Do however note that a well-documented case in Pattaya occurred when a man who had retired was found with a broom in his hand when immigration came around to his bar. Those are the problems you don’t need while in Thailand and retired. Just don’t do it. Most of these bars don’t make money and expats with a very good pension tend to use it mainly for friends who come around so they have a place of their own.
Very common again in Thailand with expats trying their hand at the stock market from Thailand. As stated this is not uncommon and many have a go at it. You do however need to know what you are doing. If you don’t mind losing money then it’s a good way to pass the time. Much like working online you are not going to need a work permit for this if it is done at home.
Consider what you would like to do in Thailand as many of the immigration problems occur when people are doing what is considered work. A good example a few years ago was an expat playing a saxophone for fun in a nightclub and was arrested for working illegally. You have to consider your options when it comes to Thailand.