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The mystery of exactly how many expats live in Thailand


rooster59

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The mystery of exactly how many expats live in Thailand

 

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Over the last twenty or so years, Thailand has become increasingly popular with foreigners who decide to make the country their home.

 

But exactly how many expats live in Thailand has always remained somewhat of a mystery.

 

At various points over the last decade, informal and unofficial figures given to Thaivisa from various government agencies have estimated the expat population in Thailand to be anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million.

 

The discrepancy in these estimates, Thaivisa was told, is due to the different ways in which various government departments and agencies class foreigners as ‘expats’ - i.e a foreigner who lives in Thailand permanently - with many ‘long stay’ foreigners actually still officially classed as being tourists.

 

But figures released earlier this year by the United Nations, citing Thailand’s Immigration Bureau, reveal that Thailand’s expat population is considerably smaller than even those vague estimates. 

 

According to figures in the 2019 Thailand Migration Report, there are just 150,707 expats residing in Thailand, of those 72,969 are retirees.

 

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According to the report the figures are based on “visas issued in 2017” by the Thai Immigration Bureau.

 

However, it isn’t clear if by “visas” the figures actually refer to extensions of stay issued by Immigration in Thailand or if it also includes actual visas issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Thai embassies and consulates around the world - or both. 

 

Citing the Office of Foreign Workers Administration, Department of Employment and Ministry of Labour, the report says there are also 112,834 “Professional and Skilled” foreigners working in Thailand.

 

It’s also not clear if there is a crossover in the figures between those working and those classed as residing in Thailand.

Even if there is no crossover, the figures would still put Thailand’s expat population at around 263,000 - well below previous estimates.

 

However, previous studies carried out in Thailand have estimated the number of expats to be higher.

 

A study carried out by the Institute for Population and Social Research at Mahidol University using data from 2010, suggested that there were approximately 440,000 expats living in Thailand, which included 141,000 Chinese, 85,000 Brits, 80,000 Japanese, 46,000 Indians, 40,000 Americans, 24,000 Germans and 23,000 French nationals.

 

Of course it could be that Thailand’s expat community is in massive decline, with 2010 studies estimating the number of expats in Thailand to be closer to 500,000 while the more recent data estimates that figure to be between 150,000 and 263,000.

 

Whether or not previous data sets are even comparable, the reality is that the mystery of exactly how many expats are living in Thailand remains.
 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2019-07-28
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13 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

which included 141,000 Chinese, 85,000 Brits, 80,000 Japanese, 46,000 Indians, 40,000 Americans, 24,000 Germans and 23,000 French nationals.

 

But no Aussies, tfft.... 😂

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there are 200 other countries passport holders than those mentioned above, so even if there is only a few thousands from each country, that would make another hundreds of thousands.

but probably better not to know the figure, because there would be outcry from thai nationalists and another crackdown from the military, that country is overrun by foreigners and have to chop them

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15 minutes ago, rooster59 said:

 

Of course it could be that Thailand’s expat community is in massive decline,

I know quite a few people who have left, so that is probably true, and of course there are numerous reasons for it. Given immigrations continuously tougher stance, you can only wonder if they are happy about the decline or whether they would be happy for even more of us to leave.

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Just looking at a city in the lower northeast makes me believe that more foreigners are living here full time.

 

    When I arrived here in 2002, you could hardly see foreigners here.

 

    Now you can see them everywhere, at shopping malls, restaurants, and other places. 

 

   Pretty hard to understand that the number of expats has declined.

 But when is a foreigner considered an expat? After 5, 10, or 15 years?

 

  

 

  

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6 minutes ago, Isaanbiker said:

   

Just looking at a city in the lower northeast makes me believe that more foreigners are living here full time.

 

    When I arrived here in 2002, you could hardly see foreigners here.

 

    Now you can see them everywhere, at shopping malls, restaurants, and other places. 

 

   Pretty hard to understand that the number of expats has declined.

 But when is a foreigner considered an expat? After 5, 10, or 15 years?

 

  

 

  

GOOD question......they have no idea....all these figures tell us nothing really.....as one person quotes "what/how many ozzies or kiwis???

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23 minutes ago, cornishcarlos said:

 

But no Aussies, tfft.... 😂

That's good then ,it means I'm not here and they won't come after me!Always wondered why I haven't had a knock on the door yet!

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2 minutes ago, FarFlungFalang said:

That's good then ,it means I'm not here and they won't come after me!Always wondered why I haven't had a knock on the door yet!

Amazing, how they could forget Aussies @ their research. 

 

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Hmmm it seems that there is no category for me nor for some of my friends.

 

I live here permanently (19 years). I have a work permit and run a business. I do not have a Thai wife and I am not retired. (Only 68 😎) The majority of the farangs who live near me are similar. They also run businesses.

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15 minutes ago, Isaanbiker said:

But when is a foreigner considered an expat? After 5, 10, or 15 years?

I have an Australian passport and I know that after 2 years out of the country and I cease to be a resident of my own country,so my guess would be 2 years.

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1 minute ago, Isaanbiker said:

Amazing, how they could forget Aussies @ their research. 

 

Bloody pisses me right off I'll tell ya Ha Ha,but I don't blame them as I'm not much of a flag waver myself just don't mention that Aussies core value is a fair go or I'll go off on a never ending rant!

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Maybe we can make an estimation ourselves. I live in Korat, and do my retirement extention begin september. The extention has a number. The average number for the last 4 years is 4500. So that means in a year the korat immigration issues about 6750 retitement extentions a year. The most expats live in Bangkok, Pattaya, changmai, pucket and udon thani. If people from those regions make the same estimations for their province, we can see if we come close to the 72000.

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5 minutes ago, jlwilliamsjr18 said:

Expats are in fact one of the golden geese of Thailand. Do the math, if each one, spends 100 dollars a week, thats a sizable hunk for the economy.  So, why kill this golden goose?

That's easy,they don't want Thailand to become the Hub of Expats!

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just 150,707 expats residing in Thailand,

 

Multiply that by 600,000 baht; average between the 2 levels of 400 k and 800 K per year in Thai banks. Not to mention what they spend daily.

 

And we are still treated as 3rd rate people.

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40 minutes ago, darksidedog said:

I know quite a few people who have left, so that is probably true, and of course there are numerous reasons for it. Given immigrations continuously tougher stance, you can only wonder if they are happy about the decline or whether they would be happy for even more of us to leave.

Yes, they are pushing people into neighboring, more welcoming countries.   Thailand is quickly being turned into a one trick pony by the junta.  Key word being "trick". 

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Just now, ratcatcher said:

As a Canuck, I'm glad we fall into the quiet, invisible minority. 🇨🇦:wink:

I'm half English half Scottish and half Irish. 

I wonder they'd place me???

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12 minutes ago, FarFlungFalang said:

I have an Australian passport and I know that after 2 years out of the country and I cease to be a resident of my own country,so my guess would be 2 years.

 

I can't believe that it's already 17 years of living here. 

 

I pay income tax for the last 15 years, happily married, got a TL, a clean Police Clearance, but nobody had yet offered me a five-year visa. Or a passport from this country. 

 

These are rough times for overstayers, no matter where they are.

 

    Considering the "Farang hunt" that has started, I'm confident that many more will be "detected" and execu.. aeehhh deported. 

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1 hour ago, rooster59 said:

Whether or not previous data sets are even comparable, the reality is that the mystery of exactly how many expats are living in Thailand remains.

Thank you. I know as much now as before I read this article.

 

The last paragraph quoted, could have come after the headline...

 

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16 minutes ago, frankholland said:

Maybe we can make an estimation ourselves. I live in Korat, and do my retirement extention begin september. The extention has a number. The average number for the last 4 years is 4500. So that means in a year the korat immigration issues about 6750 retitement extentions a year. The most expats live in Bangkok, Pattaya, changmai, pucket and udon thani. If people from those regions make the same estimations for their province, we can see if we come close to the 72000.

Nope, you'd also have other nationalities, I guess you wanted to find out how many Westerners have settled down? 

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