Philippines tops skilled workers list in Thailand


BANGKOK, Thailand – Filipino skilled workers are now packing their bags and heading to the kingdom. According to the Department of Employment (DE) of Thailand, Philippines is now on top of the list for foreign employment from ASEAN. It ranks number one among nine countries in terms of the number of foreign skilled workers and technicians in Thailand.

DE Director Varanon Peetiwan told Bangkok Post that as of February, there was a total of 1,380,349 workers from ASEAN countries. In the list, about 50,000 work in skilled labour and technical industries in Thailand.

The top five in the list were the Philippines (14,830), Malaysia (2,924), Singapore (2,034), Myanmar (1,948) and Indonesia (1,279).

“They have taken jobs in teaching, management, engineering, architecture and business,” the director said.

Teaching in Thailand

With the full implementation of ASEAN 2015, the number of Filipino skilled workers in Thailand has surged. In Phitsanulok alone, there were at least 200 registered members in Pilok Pinoyz, the Filipino organization in the province, with members from the city proper and its nearby provinces such as Khampaheng Phet, Pichit, Tak, and Uttaradit in 2016. Most of these migrants are in the teaching field.

Donna Apolinario, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Nursing, came to Thailand in 2012 and landed on a teaching job in Uttaradit province.

“I have enjoyed my job as a teacher and I have decided there’s no turning back to nursing,” she said.

The Teachers Council of Thailand (Khurusapha) will issue a ‘Temporary Teaching Permit’ to non-education graduates to serve as a teacher in school. The permit is valid for two years  and is renewable once for a term of two years provided the applicant has gained the professional knowledge required for teaching.

Shareen Barlomento, an education degree holder from Oroquieta City, came to Thailand in 2013 to defend her research paper in Khon Khaen University. Seeing that there were lots of teaching opportunities, she opted to stay.

“Thailand has opened not only a job opportunity for me but also my mind with the idea of teaching abroad. While staying in Thailand, I came to love the country especially the Thai people. Life here is easy and everything is within your reach,” Barlomento told Pinoy Legacy.

Read: 10 Reasons Why Teaching is More Fun in Thailand

Leah Doysabas arrived in Thailand in 2003. With a Master’s Degree in Science, she got hired as a full-time Science teacher in one of Phitsanulok’s top government school for girls. She is now on on her 14th year in Chalermkwansatree School along with other four Filipino teachers who were hired years later.

Legal workers

Speaking to Bangkok Post, the DE director urged foreigners to follow procedures set by the department. “They must obtain a licence issued by the DE and are required to stay in the country or allowed to enter the country legally as workers, not tourists,” Varanon Peetiwan said.

Meanwhile, according to a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) data, aside from teachers, Filipinos in Thailand also work as engineers, factory workers, musicians and singers.

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Lorenzo Caballes, Jr.
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Lorenzo Caballes, Jr.

Lorenzo is a full time English Language Teacher to high school students in Phitsanulok. He reads and travels for self-enrichment. He also writes at where he shares his struggles and joys of being a teacher in Thailand for almost a decade now.