Stats : 122 262 work permit holders (BOI, february 2008)

Reading a very funny piece from the boiler room (“Japanese expatriates lift rental market”, Nation), I found -at last- what seems to be a very precise figure regarding the number of foreigners working in Thailand (work permit holders).

I say what “seems” because actually it’s very difficult to find out. On one hand, we can assume that the thai authorities have detailed statistics (how many tourist visas ? how many visas for foreigners married to thais, for foreign retirees, how many work permits etc.), on the other hand they are very careful to not communicate on these matters.

Like if they were afraid… Anyway.

The Japanese comprise the largest group of work-permit holders in Thailand. As of February, 24,740 of 122,262 BOI and temporary work-permit holders were Japanese, approximately 20 per cent of the total, the Labour Ministry said.

BOI is the Board of Investment. The BOI is able to grant “privileges” (tax incentives, fast track for work permits, and other goodies etc.) to companies working for export.

But a regular company, without BOI, can of course apply for one or several work permits.

It’s not clear what Nation calls “temporary work permits” (all work permits are temporary !)…

My point : this figure could be the total number of work permits issued for companies under BOI (only).

A quick search gives other figures in the past : “The government has put a cap on alien workers, allowing only those 568,249 registered to work last year to renew their work permits, Labour Minister Dej Boonlong said yesterday.” (august 2002).

Another article (25 may 2002) seems to confirm my theory :

The Board of Investment’s one-stop service centre for visas and work permits processed 13 per cent more applications during the first quarter of this year than during the same period in 2001, said Supat Limpaporn, acting executive senior investment adviser at the agency.

The number of applications processed has also risen significantly over the past two years, from 94,888 in 2000 to more than 115,000 last year. this year.

To summarize : BOI apparently manages directly around 120 000 work permits… But the total number of (regular) work permits would be around 570 000.

[if you have other leads or informations related to these issues, don’t hesitate to send me an email]

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Thailand Crisis

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The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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