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Less Western Expats arriving than ever before and a significant fall in working Western expats now in Thailand


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Less Western Expats arriving than ever before and a significant fall in working Western expats now in Thailand

 

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Thaivisa Expat Survey 2018 (respondents 1,429)

 

There are less expats arriving in Thailand than ever before and a significant amount of working expats under 60 years have now left Thailand, making good on the threats made in last survey 2 years ago.  This has been driven by financial pressures due to earning less money from declining business in Thailand.

 

The future of Western Expat looks seriously hit and compromised by shifting market trends from falling Western tourists (which even Tourism authority of Thailand finally admitted in July 2018), rising costs of living in Thailand to the influx of Chinese and Indian tourists changing the dynamics.

 

Every two years since 2014 Thaivisa has conducted a Western Expat survey of Thailand. This years survey received a respectable 1,429 respondents. The trends suggest a worrying time for the future of the Western Expat in Thailand.

 

In 2016 20% of the sample were Expats that had only lived in Thailand for 3 or less years, two years later that figure had dropped to 14%. The arrivals have also been retirees and not working younger expat, with the average age increasing a whopping ten years from 50 year to just over 60 years old in just two years.  

 

The more recent commercial opportunity for the Western Expat in Thailand seen over the last ten years is in rapid decline and the country moves back to its core of a retiree destination for Westerners.  Only 1 in 5 expats are now under the age of 50 years old and only 2% under 30 years old. Back in 2016, 10% were under the age of 30 and 33% were under 50 years old.

 

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So, should we be surprised? In short, no as two years ago when asked ‘Are you happier than when you first arrived?’ 39% said they were not and 44% of this came from the under 60 year old working expats who cited financial pressures as the reason for their unhappiness.

 

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On top of that when asked ‘Have you considered leaving Thailand over the last 12 months?’ 66% in 2016 said yes and this was the largely the voice of the working expats. Well they have come good on their promises and finally left the country.

 

Today only 23% of our sample is working expats compared to 42% two years ago.

 

In this years survey only 34% said they have considered leaving Thailand in the last 12 months, half the figure from only 2 years ago and now most of us are happy or at least the same from when we first arrived, which was not the case two years ago with ‘unhappier’ being the most popular reply.

 

The rate of change in only two years is quite startling and one must wonder if this level of attrition will continue or level out going forward?

 

Expat Monthly Budgets

 

We then looked at expat budgets and 1 in 4 (23%) have a monthly budget of between 25k and 45k baht a month. Although almost half (48%) have monthly budgets of over 65k baht a month, with 1 in 10 having over 145k baht to spend.

 

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Interestingly, Expats demonstrate good ownership of property and vehicles. This would have helped in reducing their monthly expenses.  A huge 75% of expats say they own a car (rising to 88% in Hua Hin) and also 1 in 2 claim to own a house or villa, with 1 in 5 owning a condo.

 

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Expat Relationship Status

 

45% of expats are married to a Thai, with almost 1 in 10 married to non-Thais. 73% are in some form of a relationship. Slightly more expats in Pattaya are single than sample average, with 1 in 3 saying they are single.

 

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Where do Expats live?

 

Bangkok and Pattaya continue to be the top two locations accounting for 41% of where expats live (22% and 19%).  Notable others include 13% in Chiang Mai, 8% Phuket/Krabi and 6% in Hua Hin. No real shifts in this over the last 4 years.

 

Bangkok remains strong for working expats with 51% and a much younger demographic therefore seen here, with 38% under 50 years old.

 

Still many Expats don’t have Health Insurance

 

Much has been written over the last 12 months about whether or not it will be made mandatory for all expats to have health insurance in order to live in Thailand. 59% of expats have health insurance (34% do not whilst 7% no but plan too soon). Those in Bangkok, typically a bit younger and also working, show highest levels of health insurance with 70% having this.

 

What media do Expats use?

 

We also asked that besides Thaivisa what other media do expats use. Not that surprisingly Bangkok Post and The Nation were 2nd and 3rd, whilst both the Phuket media – Phuket News and Phuket Gazette/The Thaiger – came in 5th and 6th place, respectively.

 

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90% of expats in Bangkok read the Bangkok Post.

 

Digital Media Consumption

 

For the first time we included a question on expats use of Facebook, You Tube, Netflix and Line.  ¾ of respondents use Facebook and You Tube at least once a week and relative newcomer to Thailand, Netflix, already has almost 1 in 3 expats subscribed.

 

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Interestingly, although Line is certainly strong nationally among expats with 66% using at least once a week, in Bangkok it is the strongest of the 4 platforms with 80% of expats using it.  By contrast in neighbouring Pattaya, only 57% use Line, so below the national average.

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2018-08-02
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Not too surprised.

 

I know quite a lot of people who have left over the last few years, and also a few others who are thinking about it. These are all young expats (25-35) too who have had enough. 

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As globalization hits, the differential between the cost of living in LOS and back home continues to shrink.  Thai goods that used to be consumed only in Thailand are getting more expensive as China, et. al. are bidding up the prices. 

 

Couple that with the stagnant wages for many foreigners who work for peanuts just to live in LOS, and I can see where lots of them are either going back home, or to countries with friendlier policies toward expats and their spending money. 

 

And for a lot of long stay retired guys, they didn't expect (and plan for) the cost of living well (above a subsistence level) to rise as quickly as it has, and now they need to locate somewhere they can supplement their pensions without risking a one-way ticket out of the country for working illegally- even if it's just trading in Beanie Babies on EBay.

 

Thailand is still a bargain, but not the bargain it used to be.  And the trade-offs are eroding by the year.

 

My heart goes out to the Thai folks who can't pull up stakes and move "back home".  They're seeing many of the same inflationary pressures, with no Plan B.

 

 

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It's harder finding Farang tenants for rental properties now,

10 years ago relatively easy,now its Chinese (only as a last

resort) and Thais (never again),not racist ,just good business

practice.

regards worgeordie

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An offensive post has been removed:

 

11) You will not post slurs, degrading or overly negative comments directed towards Thailand, specific locations, Thai institutions such as the judicial or law enforcement system, Thai culture, Thai people or any other group on the basis of race, nationality, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

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The way they treat expats here with the hoop jumping and can't be a citizen or own anything even if have Thai Family is atrocious. Even if the expat wants his own business then they have to have a certain amount of Thai.  90 day reporting and virtually being considered a 3rd rate person here is just how it is. 

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1 hour ago, holy cow cm said:

The way they treat expats here with the hoop jumping and can't be a citizen or own anything even if have Thai Family is atrocious. Even if the expat wants his own business then they have to have a certain amount of Thai.  90 day reporting and virtually being considered a 3rd rate person here is just how it is. 

The facts you state would be enough to put off most successful people. For example in Europe you can work in any 28 countries so if you like snow to the hot beach it's all there, you can own your own business not have to have strangers having shares, stay forever and even become a citizen no stress of Visa Runs, Applications etc Thailand is 50 years behind and with Asean will eventually have to open up. Yes and then if you say something debatable about a company have the threat of jail under the Computer Crimes Act like Alan at PhuketWan went through. Then you might get wacked if you upset the wrong people...................I am done with Thailand.........

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Soon we Thai Visa geezers will be all by ourselves, complaining and whining as loudly as ever... and holding high the slowly flickering-out torch of Western civilization in a country full of uncultured savages that neither want us nor need us.

 

Sorry for the melodramatics ?

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I feel like this survey reflects accurately what I've observed.

 

The hollowing out of the under 35 expat demographic probably can be explained by Thailand's war on foreign teachers without work permits, creeping rise in cost of living, and improving economies in the West. Suspect that many working aged expats who were paid in their home currency have found cost of living here has shot up and left as a result. Crackdown on beer bar scene has probably made Thailand less attractive to some as well. Still, expect that next downturn in the West will probably trigger a new wave of retirees and early retirees looking to stretch their pensions in Thailand. With the global homogenization of culture and mass tourism, worldwide tourism has simply lost a lot of its allure.

 

Survey also thoroughly debunks the myth that majority of expats over here are broke. Note rates of home ownership, car ownership, and monthly expenditures reported.

 

Also of interest was that while the majority of expats appear to be living in major metropolitan areas and popular seaside towns, a full third (32%) of respondents fall into an "all other" category, presumably many in smaller cities, towns and villages, i.e., rural Thailand, which, in my opinion, is under-rated as a place to live.

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Easily predicted. Young and old expats come and live and leave for very different reasons.

 

Thailand is an absolutely horrible for a young expat to work. It gives them nothing in return for their effort. Locals don't have any interest in learning from outsiders and kowtowing to Thai/Chinese bosses for a handful of Baht is hardly worth the subservience. 

 

Thais are more and more anti-foreigner and nobody feels this more than expats who actually work among elite Thais. They simply don't want them here. Period. 

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12 minutes ago, Gecko123 said:

Survey also thoroughly debunks the myth that majority of expats over here are broke

I must disagree.

I suspect the expats who are "broke" are probably living "under the radar" (overstayers etc) or not wanting to admit they are broke and would be the last people to respond to such a survey in either case.

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1 minute ago, scottiejohn said:

I must disagree.

I suspect the expats who are "broke" are probably living "under the radar" (overstayers etc) and would be the last people to respond to such a survey.

All I can say is that the survey results regarding home ownership, car ownership and expenditure levels are consistent with my observations in my area.

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54 minutes ago, YetAnother said:

thailand is not a top place for westerners to retire;

 

the thai people make it that way, the country is largely lawless, incapable of governing itself, unsafe and the thai people are ignorant, xenophobic and racist;

 

lots of us like it a lot here but that is solely attributable to enduring (in a teeth-grinding way)  their 10 year-old child mentalities, laws, regulations and mindsets;

 

not very hard to rise above...

 

now,

let us assume that what you say is reasonably in line with reality

then, how come,

so many farangs are still settling here for retirement?

 

the stream of settlers is quite big

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9 minutes ago, Fex Bluse said:

Easily predicted. Young and old expats come and live and leave for very different reasons.

 

Thailand is an absolutely horrible for a young expat to work. It gives them nothing in return for their effort. Locals don't have any interest in learning from outsiders and kowtowing to Thai/Chinese bosses for a handful of Baht is hardly worth the subservience. 

 

Thais are more and more anti-foreigner and nobody feels this more than expats who actually work among elite Thais. They simply don't want them here. Period. 

 

not really disagreeing,

but why are the farang employed in the first place if what you say hold water

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