Thailand EFL Outlook

By Ted Karma
Ted Karma has once again taken some time out from TEFL Daddy and lent his expertise to the TEFL Logue, this time on the topic of current job prospects in Thailand.

Thais, generally, are a delight to teach. While not particularly serious about learning they are quite pleasant and fun people. Anything you can turn into a game in the classroom will be an instant hit.

Right now, however, most experienced teachers here are not recommending Thailand as a teaching destination. The visa and work permit requirements have been in constant flux since the deportation of alleged pedophile John Mark Carr (later, I believe, all charges were dropped).

The result of that situation was that new rules have been proposed and are constantly altered making it difficult for many of Thailand’s EFL teachers to work legally. And this is at a time when visa runs are becoming limited and more difficult to do.

The proper visa for obtaining a work permit is becoming very difficult to obtain – at least in the Asia region. The idea situation – though quite expensive – is to come here, find your job and fly back to a Western country to get your visa. Degree verification is also now required – though it is uncertain as to exactly what the labor departments considers as acceptable verification. Also, a “back ground check” is being proposed – but no one is sure who will do it, where you might obtain it, and what the acceptable form for that is.

If fact, as you read this – the rules have probably evolved even more and part of what is written here is most likely out of date – or just plain wrong. The issue here is – that it is quite difficult to be sure that once you come here and land a job – that you will be able to work legally.

With wages in Thailand notoriously low, uncertainty about legal standing and involved, time-consuming, and expensive processes for legalization of your employment status, it is becoming quite difficult to recommend coming here and seeking employment. It would probably be best to wait a while and let the process sort itself out.

Everything stated here is just my opinion – and everything about come to Thailand and teaching should be checked and double-checked even the day before you leave to come here. Good resources for knowing the latest are at and the Thai Visa Forums.

For EFL – and particularly for non-degreed people – China is probably a better destination at this time. Other options might be Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.