I must have had 30 people this year send me a cv of sorts to help them get a job abroad especially in Thailand.
When I first arrived in Thailand in 2003 nearly 10 years ago, I was recently divorced at the time, and the whole country was complete R&R for my soul and I never ever shook it off since. I said to myself at the time, I will go on the internet and find a way to live here, and I was dissapointed with the lack of real help then, fast forward 2011, and I made a website to help people get started on their trek to make that move to the East.
There is a fundamental shift on the finances of the world, and we are seeing more financial powerhouses in the East. Life now is definately less third world, and more Starbucks and fatter waistlines.
If your boss has just sat you down and said
"Jack we need you out East!"
Well lucky bloody you! You don't have to go through all the hassle the rest of us go through to make it. There are numerous things you must understand as to why employers are not just opening doors to tourists getting them a permit and a visa and off to work you go!
First off, as an employer, you need around 30-60,000 USD to show the government to get a business up and running, and you have to jump through various hoops and sit in many different government departments which takes weeks and here you see socialism first hand.
One guys job is to stamp, one guys job is to take the form to the next stamper etc etc it will drive you nuts opening up a company, and you have to pay your Thai lawyer handsomely for every single bottle of whisky he gives every single person in the government to speed up your process.
Here's the killer; for every one Foreign employer your company has, you must have 2 (it could be 3 this week I am not sure it changes as and when) Thai employees, so this is where your local Bangkok expat I.F.A. will have some nice Thai lady bring you a cup, then another lady bring you a saucer, then the next will bring you the coffee etc etc!!
You will not own your company 100%! In fact you will own around 49% with a number of very dodgy letters that have been presigned by the Thai shareholders that you don't know, and presumably they don't know each other, (which is just as well because as if they met and decided to, they could kick you out) Well as any decent Thai lwayer will tell you this has never happened before and you are safe!!??
Visas are another hopeless challenge, no bank account without a visa anymore, and to get a visa from a company will take some doing, you have to get your visa to allign with your permit (more vists , more whisky) to get to stay for a full year. Failing this you will end up on the bus to Cambodia with the drunken teachers, allbeit every 90 days if you have a Non immigrant B (business) visa. (Some teachers do that every 15 days, that's the law if you go on land with a visa on arrival, it's 30 USD a time too, and eats away into your passport as the cambodian visa is a full page and the stamps both sides is another half page so 3 pages of your passport a month if you come in with a visa on arrival! unless you fly that will give you 30 days!)
So to turn up at a networking event and tell people you are a travel consultant and expect them to pay you 1,000 USD a month and employ 2-3 other Thais to make the numbers, you had better be the best damned travel consultant in the world!
The Thailand expat business scene is made up of mostly teachers of English, and these range from Philipinos who are secretly agrieved that Europeans who teach, earn more than they do, and the various European teachers whom are mostly pre pubescent scruffy foriegners who get drunk on their monthly visa runs at 0900 in the morning! TEFL is not to be confused with proper Teachers (trained teachers with degrees) who teach in the English schools. TEFL takes anyone after a 2-4 week training course!
Independant Financial Advisors who over-popluate every single networking event whom are so knowledgeble of finance that they have to pester every single expat ringing them weekly with the phone numbers gleaned from Chamber directories, they need your business to stay in the country!
Then there is the middle ground; the IT guys, Hotel managers/chefs, and engineers who work for companies, and then there are the offshore companies whom I am never quite sure and I don't think they are 100% sure either, wether they are allowed to trade in Thailand from a Cayman island adress!?
There is the promise of a fast buck in a boiler room and you see them getting raided and arrested almost monthly now. Then the other end of the spectrum are the big names from the chambers. Many expats feel they are an unaproachable lot, they have the old school masonic aura about them, and they seem pretty hard to talk to at events, and they mostly go to get blind drunk!
There are many so many people now starting to make money enough to live In Thailand from various business on the internet and this is one area that is growing all the time you will need around two years hard work to develop yourself online but it can be done.
So if you have just arrived what can you do? Well you have to get out there and meet the people and you have to network there are various network clubs and if you try you could attend a club almost every night, they are a great way of meeting people and it's also a great way of getting to know your town and the Hotels. here is a great resource for network clubs in Bangkok.
Have a clear goal in mind of what you want to do, and from the outset remain focused on what you are going to do, so that people will get to know you as that person and you will have more chance of being introduced to a influential person if you have branded yourself well. Remember though this process could take months and you will need at least six months living money and a flight home if need be!
Research people on the Internet before you go, and ask their advice, we all give it and love to help people, so don't be shy to ask.
In my humble opinion you can live as a single person in Thailand on 30,000 THB a month of you live very modestly in an out of town studio apartment and not drink alcohol and it helps if you like Thai food on the sreet. If you network as much as you can, get known, stay focused and live cleanly you can make it, but patience is a virtue and you will need a lot of it!
Last Updated (Friday, 02 September 2011 08:57)