About Thailand , Seeking jobs in Thailand
Many individuals are interested in relocating and seeking jobs in Thailand, an issue which is accompanied by a host of employment related questions, concerning visas, work permits etc. However, it is important to understand that Thailand is not a typical immigration country like Canada or Australia. It doesn’t seek to absorb work immigrants from overseas but quite the opposite. Thus, the Thai policy is rather strict, and relocating to Thailand to work there is a difficult task.
Many job seekers falsely assume that once they’ll get to Thailand, they will receive numerous job offers at high positions, of course. Well, Thailand doesn’t wait for foreigners to ‘redeem’ it and lead it towards progress, and no red carpets will await at your feet once you land there. In fact, this country has a vast workforce, both plain and professional, including academics who practice various professions: scientists, engineers, doctors and such, who gained higher education and acquired much needed skills in Thailand, Australia, Japan, Europe and the U.S.A.
The Labor laws in Thailand concerning foreigners are clear and strict. These rules do not encourage local companies to employ immigrants. There are even certain professions that are off limits for foreigners, including tourist guidance, practicing agriculture or hair design (the long list details 36 prohibited professions). Generally, local employees will always have the language, communication, mentality and salary advantages, hence employers would rather hire them. The Thai authorities are very strict when foreigners are caught working without a permit – their punishment includes jailtime and deportation from Thailand.
The Possibilities and Types of Work include the following:
- Relocation – when you were sent to Thailand by a company which is based/located in your homeland and therefore have no worries. The company will make all the necessary arrangements and handle the paperwork in Thailand, your salary and benefits will be decent and satisfactory.
- Contingent work – common among youngsters who wish to spend their time in Thailand, and are not looking for long-term career opportunities. Their main interest is covering their expenses and making easy money which they can later spend. Their possibilities in this case include: travel agencies, vending stalls, pubs and nightclubs etc. In many cases, the employee will be considered illegal or in the grey area at best, which obviously entails several implications. Additionally, there will be many work hours and/or the salary will be low.
- Opening your own business – here I must stress that opening an independent business and working in one are completely different things. Any foreigner can establish a company/open a business (own it) but this does not mean that he can work there, since every foreigner must first obtain all the necessary confirmations and documents to work in Thailand (as if it weren’t his own business).
- Legal work in a local company – if your qualifications were needed and you were hired by a local company, your employer will be sure to equip you with the necessary paperwork. This will allow you to receive a work permit and thus get your visa as well as a work-based extension of stay. The company which hired you must comply with certain terms and standards: have equity and proper registration, submit tax statements and reports, have 4 local employees for every foreigner etc. Please notice that a work permit is personal and specifically granted for a certain position, a designated employer, and a specific geographical location. It cannot be moderated or transferred.
Insights: even if you have higher education of some sorts, remember that local candidates with similar academic backgrounds and the same qualifications are competing for the job, and they are more likely to get it. They have the language, communication, mentality and salary advantages, and they are willing to work longer hours for lower salaries, so the employer will probably prefer to hire them. When it comes to English classes – quality private schools which pay more than decent salaries, will only hire native English speakers with the necessary instruction certificates and diplomas. If you don’t have such documents, your only chance of teaching English here, is in some remote town/village, where you’ll be paid poorly for your services.
In Conclusion: if you are aiming high, and looking for a successful, long term career, Thailand is probably not the place for you, unless you practice a unique, desired profession which is in high demand in Thailand. This typically requires higher education and proven expertise in the field.
***I would like to thank my friend Olen Wag for his contribution towards preparing this article.