Jobs in Thailand - Looking for Work

By far the most common job for foreigners (farang) is teaching English in Thailand. The better-paid jobs (in the Universities for instance) go to those who are native English speakers with qualifications in teaching English as a foreign language. However even without teaching qualifications it is possible to get work as a private tutor or at private schools. Companies who work with customers abroad may also pay for tutoring for their employees.

Many Westerners end up running bars or guesthouses. Foreigners are not allowed to own businesses or land in Thailand, so farang who go down this road tend to have a Thai business partner or Thai spouse.

Another popular industry for Westerners to work in is the dive industry. Thais tend to be very wary of being in the water and diving is expensive so few Thais actually dive but there is a great demand for scuba diving in Thailand as there are some fantastic dive sites and it is relatively cheap to go diving in Thailand compared with Western countries. Many people qualify as a PADI divemaster which means you can take people out on guided dives at the sites. Many sites are now in areas deemed to be National Parks so hiring out equipment and letting divers go out without a divemaster is not encouraged. Divemasters usually earn about enough to cover their living expenses but you can earn more as a diving instructor. Training as divemaster or instructor is cheap in Thailand. There are restrictions on Westerners owning certain businesses in Thailand. Some farang get round this by managing a dive shop and having a Thai owner who doesn't really get involved in the running of the business.

Another way of earning money is as a programmer or developer. Thais are slow to change unless they can see a good reason for it, so IT-literate people would probably be at the forefront of the Thai IT industry and be able to get programming or web design work quite easily.

Working for a global company with offices in Thailand is generally an accepted route to working in another country. Learning a bit of Thai would probably be an advantage. Some types of job are closed to foreigners, such as engineering.

Some Westerners become monks or nuns and stay on in Thailand that way. Some run mediation retreats for foreigners, held in English. However this is not a paying job. Other voluntary work includes VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas), which takes people who have skills such as nursing, teaching, or IT and who have had a few years experience working in their profession. There are various projects which involve working with refugees from Myanmar or AIDs projects for people with the right qualifications and experience.

Technically speaking you need a work permit to work in Thailand, even if you are doing voluntary work, but many people doing casual work in tourist resorts in Thailand don't bother. Your employer needs to apply for a work permit for you. A Thai embassy should be able to give more information on tax certificates, work permits and what work is permitted for foreigners.


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