Thailand has been known as the top destination in Southeast Asia for Asian labour migrants, with around four million migrant workers from neighbouring countries. Although most migrants are low-skill and semi-skill labour, Thailand has also attracted an increasing number of foreign skill migrants as the country’ economic structure has shifted more towards the service and manufacturing sectors. Interestingly, Asian skill migrants have grown at a faster rate than Western skill migrants in recent years, led by Japanese, Chinese, Philippine and Indian migrants. In the mid-2017, there were around 150,000 foreign skill migrants granted work permits in Thailand. It is likely that skill migration in Thailand will jump in the next decade as Thailand has launched many policy initiatives such as the smart visa program to attract foreign talents in an attempt to upgrade its industrial sector. As many countries in Southeast Asia have experienced skill shortages, the competition for foreign talents in the region may be intense. This presentation will discuss skill migration trends in Southeast Asia, and explore foreign talent policies of some ASEAN countries, with a particular focus on Thailand.
September 19, 2018