Thailand has been welcoming a growing community of expats for decades.
But how many expats actually live in Thailand?
This basic question is not so easy to answer. First, a definition must be given to the word “expat“. Secondly, data are sometimes missing or are not totally trustworthy.
The report about Thailand issued by the International Organization for Migration (2019) is probably one of the most reliable and updated source to estimate the number of non-Thai living in Thailand, and among them people who can be categorized as expats.
The full report is available here: https://thailand.iom.int/thailand-migration-report-2019-0
The total estimated non-Thai population residing and working in Thailand (November 2018) is 4.9 million individuals according to the report.
There is still uncertainty on this number mostly because some low-skilled workers might remain without legal documents despite the recent registration and nationality verification process completed by the Thai government.
Nevertheless, the non-Thai population is divided into the following categories:
- Professional and Skilled Workers,
- Low-Skilled Workers from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam,
- Temporary Stay (mostly people having a Thai family and retirees)
- Tertiary Students,
- Other Populations without Citizenship (such as Ethnic minorities and hill tribes),
- Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
We can reasonably define the expat community in Thailand as the combination of Professional and Skilled Workers together with the Temporary stay individuals.
Based on that definition, the number of expats living in Thailand would be 312,944 individuals in November 2018.
Among them, 162,237 individuals (51.8%) are categorized as workers.
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