Employment office to consider relaxing restricted occupations

The head of the Employment Department announced last week that they are considering re-evaluating the list of forbidden occupations for foreigners, especially targeting the construction industry where migrant workers are only allowed to work as manual laborers. Foreign technicians, investors, and academics were also occupations that the head listed that he felt could bear revising. He pointed out that the law, enacted in 1981, has not kept pace with the changes in society and that they government should consider relaxing some restrictions. The Labor Department plans on discussing the issue with businesses to evaluate the situation before proposing changes to the government.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is wooing American tourists to Thailand after arrivals from the U.S. hit 900,000 in 2016 and is on course to hit 1 million this year. The TAT hopes to boost connectivity with North America after signing an agreement with Eva Airlines out of Taiwan to promote tourism to Asia on their long haul flights. Eva Air operates 92 flights a week between the U.S. and Taiwan, All Nippon Airways, China Airlines and Singapore Airlines are among other airlines that fly to the U.S. The TAT is also looking to boost Canadian tourism as Thailand ranked 4th most popular destination for Canadian tourists. A TAT office will be opening in Toronto this year. The Tourism Ministry is also looking towards Australia as the average Australian tourist stays longer (an average of 14 days) and spends more ( on average 5,831 baht per day). The government is looking to promote local destinations under the theme “Thai Local Experience” to relieve congestion on the main tourist destinations. The TAT forecasts international arrivals to grow to 37.3 million in 2018 from an estimated 35 million this year. The country saw 34 million international arrivals in 2016 and 32.6 million in 2015.

Hotels.com released its sixth annual Chinese International Travel Monitor (CITM) report based on surveys of Chinese travelers and Thailand was ranked first as the friendliest country for Chinese tourists followed by Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Chinese travelers spend an average of 28 percent of their annual income on international travel with millennials, those born in the 1990s, as the biggest spenders, allocating 35 percent of their annual income on international travel. On average Chinese tourist spending rose 24 percent from last year to US$3,600 (121,000 baht) per person in the past 12 months. Chinese travelers are also traveling for longer periods of time, spending on average 7 days compared to last year’s five and taking more trips, now taking three or four trips a year. The average amount spent per day increased 8% from 2016 -- with dining, sightseeing and rest and relaxation activities proving most popular, however shopping dropped 35% from last year. The report predicts that Chinese travelers will move more towards independent travel and that the number of organized tour groups will drop in part because of the use of mobile applications to book and older travelers in their 60s and 70s indicating an increased interest in backpacking.

Work Permit

Any foreigner working in Thailand must obtain a Work Permit before beginning work. While a prospective employer may file an application on the foreigner’s behalf in advance of his starting work, the actual Work Permit will not be issued until the foreigner has entered Thailand in accordance with the immigration laws and has presented himself to receive his Work Permit.

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