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Jobs in Thailand for Foreigners

This is an overview of jobs for foreigners living in Thailand or who want to move here. It is not a list of job openings. There are numerous jobs sites as well as visa and work permit information sites elsewhere.

I serious suggest that you not work illegally. The Thai government frowns on this and you might be arrested and put in jail. You need a valid work permit to work in Thailand.

Teaching Jobs

By far the majority of foreigners living and working in Thailand are teachers. To be more specific, they are English teachers. Minimal qualifications are a bachelor's degree in English or Linguistics. If the degree is in some other field, some kind of ESL credentials, as well as being a native speaker of English, are required. Those with the required qualifications, or non-native speakers, can get teaching positions, but generally they are not as well paying. Even most native speakers, with the exception of international school teachers, are not paid all that well, and saving money is a problem for many.

Computer and IT Jobs

Probably the next most common occupation for foreigners is in the area of IT. This runs the whole gamut from coders to designers, webmasters and editors.

Writing and Editing Jobs

The Bangkok Post and other media do hire a few writers-editors. Editing assorted papers, articles and books, often for Thai grad students, on a freelance basis is also a way of picking up funds.

Entertainment and Jobs in Music

A fair number of musicians earn extra income from playing gigs in Bangkok and other major destinations. I have never known one who made a living at it, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. I did know a magician who picked up a few extra baht here and there by doing magic shows. Finally, major population areas have English language radio that use native speaking DJs.

Culinary Jobs

Businesses concerning national security or safety
There are a fair number of foreign cooks in Thailand. Most work at larger four star hotels and make a very decent salary by Thai standards.

Specialized Skills Jobs

Foreigners who are deemed to have specialized skills, like those mentioned above, are allowed to work in Thailand. A few examples of such skills are: Lawyers, pilots, investment experts and others.

Opening Your Own Business

It is possible to own your own business. You can't work in it unless you have a work permit. Succeeding in business is difficult anywhere, but probably more so in Thailand than many places.

Prohibited Jobs

Jobs as laborers, in fields uniquely Thai (producing cultural items) or involving Thai handicrafts are not allowed to be done by foreigners.

Additional Businesses and Jobs that Foreigners are Not Allowed to Do In Thailand

Newspaper business, radio-broadcasting station or radio/television business
Farming, cultivation or horticulture
Animal husbandry
Forestry and timber conversion from natural forests
Fisheries, especially fishing in Thai territorial waters and in specific economic areas of Thailand
Extracting Thai herbs
Trade and auction sale of Thai antiques or objects of historical value
Making or casting Buddha images and alms bowls Trading in land
Trading in land

Restricted Business Activities under the Foreign Business Act of 1999

List 1 – Businesses that foreigners are not permitted to engage in for special reasons:

– Newspaper business, radio-broadcasting station or radio/television business

– Farming, cultivation or horticulture

– Animal husbandry

– Forestry and timber conversion from natural forests

– Fisheries, especially fishing in Thai territorial waters and in specific economic areas of Thailand

– Extracting Thai herbs

– Trade and auction sale of Thai antiques or objects of historical value

– Making or casting Buddha images and alms bowls

– Trading in land

List 2 – Businesses concerning national security or safety that could have an adverse effect on art and culture, customs, or native manufacture/handicrafts, or with an impact on natural resources and the environment:

Group 1 – Businesses concerning national security or safety

– Manufacturing, distribution, repair or maintenance of:

- Firearms, ammunition, gunpowder, and explosive materials

- Components of firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials

- Armaments, ships, aircraft, or vehicles

- Equipment, or parts of any type of military equipment

– Domestic land transport, water transport, and air transport, including domestic aviation.

Group 2 – Businesses that could have an adverse effect on arts and culture, customs, and native manufacturing/handicrafts

– Trading of antiques or artifacts that are Thai works of art or Thai handicrafts

– Wood carving

– Silkworm rearing, manufacture of Thai silk, Thai silk weaving, or Thai silk printing

– Manufacturing of Thai musical instruments

– Manufacturing of gold-ware, silverware, nielloware, bronzeware, or lacquerware

– Making bowls or earthenware which are of Thai art and culture

Group 3 – Businesses concerning natural resources and the environment

– Manufacturing of sugar from cane

– Salt farming, including rock salt farming

– Mining of rock salt

– Mining, including stone quarrying or crushing

– Timber processing for making furniture and utilities

Businesses foreigners and not allowed to do in Thailand:

– Rice milling and flour production from rice and plants

– Fisheries, specifically breeding of aquatic creatures

– Forestry from re-planting

– Production of plywood, veneer, chipboard or hardboard

– Production of lime

– Accountancy

– Legal services

– Architecture

– Engineering

– Construction, except:

- Construction of infrastructure in public utilities or communications requiring tools, technology or special expertise in such construction, except where the minimum foreign capital is 500 million baht

- Other construction, as prescribed in regulations

– Agency or brokerage, except:

- Brokerage or agency of securities or service related to agricultural commodities futures or financial instruments or securities

- Brokerage or agency for the purchase/sale or procurement of goods or services necessary to production or providing services to affiliated enterprises

- Brokerage or agency for the purchase or sale, distribution or procurement of markets, both domestic and overseas for the distribution of products made in Thailand, or imported from overseas in the category of international business, with minimum foreign capital of not less than 100 million baht

- Other brokerage or agency activities, as stipulated in regulations

– Auctioneering, except:

- Auctioneering by international bidding, not being auctions of antiques, ancient objects or artifacts that are Thai works of art, Thai handicrafts or antique objects, or with Thai historical value

- Other types of auctioneering, as stipulated in regulations

– Domestic trade in local agricultural products not prohibited by law

– Retailing, unless not less than 100 million baht capital is invested, or having minimum capital for each shop of not less than 20 million baht

– Wholesaling, unless the capital is not less than 100 million baht

– Advertising

– Hotel operation, excluding hotel management

– Tourism

– Sale of food and beverages

– Planting and culture of plants

– Other services, except those exempted under ministerial regulations