An Employers Guide to Managing Expats in Thailand 

 May 24, 2024 | 4 Min Read

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Thailand is famous for friendly locals, a low cost of living, amazing weather, and stunning beaches. Making it a popular and attractive destination for expats. It's no surprise that Thailand ranked 6th in the expat insiders' best destinations for expats survey. However, the high demand for expat roles here can put some additional challenges on hiring managers. We explore what you need to know about hiring and managing expat employees in Thailand. 
The corporate culture in Thailand reflects the traits of Thai locals, who are respectful and courteous. While it is more relaxed than in other parts of Asia, business culture remains formal in Thailand. Hierarchy structures within businesses are significant, influenced by the importance of authority and respect in Thai society. Ensuring expat employees understand these organisational dynamics as part of your onboarding program is crucial for successful assignments. 

Unemployment rates in Thailand are exceptionally low, so attracting and retaining talent requires businesses to have competitive packages for their employees. 


Average salaries in Thailand vary from one region to another, with significant differences in the minimum wage. The Bangkok region offers the highest minimum wage at around ฿19,000 TBH per month. Salaries like anywhere vary across different sectors. Expat salaries typically range between ฿24,500 and ฿433,000 TBH, depending on experience, sector and location. Up to 65% of people in Thailand earn between ฿58,900 - ฿151,00 THB and up to 20% earn ฿58,900 TBH or less. While it's a lot to consider from multiple minimum wages and individual demands for each sector. Understanding the salary structures and the cost of living in Thailand will allow you to attract and retain the best talent when hiring and managing expat professionals. 

In 2018 new labour laws were introduced for foreign employees in Thailand's industrial and service sectors. For every non-immigrant visa B granted to foreign nationals, a company is required to have at least four Thai employees for each foreign employee. Working hours in Thailand are usually around 48 hours a week / 8 hours a day. Workers are entitled to have an hour's rest after every 5 hours of working. 
All foreign nationals working in Thailand need to have a valid work permit and visa before they move. The visa allows employees to enter the country, and the work permit allows them to begin employment. As the employer in most cases, you will need to submit initial work permit applications on The Ministry of Labours website
Several types of visas available in Thailand,  from short-term single-entry visas, perfect for short-term expat assignments, to long-term visas valid for up to 1-3 years.

In 2018, the Thai government introduced a new Smart visa, designed to attract highly skilled professionals and investors within the science and technology industries.  

Smart visa costs per worker vary from ฿10,000 TBH to ฿20,000 TBH, lasting 4 years for employees and 2 for start-ups. The biggest advantage of the Smart visa is the requirement to report to Thai immigration authorities only once a year, rather than 90 days which is the standard of all other visas. Expats who come to Thailand on Smart visas, do not require a separate work permit. 

Long-term resident visas are also available for up to 10 years, this visa is aimed at attracting highly skilled expat professionals, and digital nomads of overseas companies. In order to qualify for this type of visa employees would need to be earning a minimum of ฿80,000 TBH, with at least 5 years’ experience and have health insurance for themselves and their families. This visa costs ฿50,000 TBH per employee and may incur additional admin fees from the Thai embassy. 

Thailand's healthcare has a high standard of care, with both public and private options available. Expats in the public system are assigned to specific hospitals, this can create challenges for expats as the access and level of care can be restricted depending on the hospital. Private care is the best option for expats working overseas as they will have access to highly qualified English-speaking staff and excellent facilities. 

There are also additional health hazards that expats can face in Thailand, this includes, a higher risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases, typhoid from contaminated food or water and high levels of air pollution in the cities. Emergency services are also not fully developed, with long response times in smaller urban areas. Therefore, having international health insurance for your expat employees in Thailand should be a priority. 

At Allianz Partners, we help corporate groups and international organisations of all sizes to look after the health and wellbeing of their employees. Speak to us today to learn more about how we can ensure your globally mobile workforce. Providing international health insurance and support services, but most importantly ensuring your expat employees' physical and mental needs are met during their assignments.