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Bangkok’s status as the heart of the Thai economy provides a variety of work opportunities for foreigners, and tens of thousands live and work here. Having said that, faràng are not allowed to work in certain professions (such as medical doctors) and it’s not as easy to find a job as it is in more developed countries.

All work in Thailand requires a Thai work permit. Thai law defines work as ‘exerting one’s physical energy or employing one’s knowledge, whether or not for wages or other benefits’, so theoretically even volunteer and missionary work requires a permit. Work permits should be obtained via an employer, who may file for the permit before the employee arrives in-country. The permit itself is not issued until the employee enters Thailand on a valid Non-Immigrant Visa.

For information about work permits, contact any Thai embassy abroad or check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (www.mfa.go.th/web/12.php). No joy? Seek solace and advice on the message boards of www.thaivisa.com.

Busking is illegal in Thailand, where it is legally lumped together with begging.

Teaching english

As in the rest of East and Southeast Asia, there is a high demand for English speakers to provide instruction to Thai citizens. Those with academic credentials such as teaching certificates or degrees in English as a second language will get first crack at the better-paying jobs, such as those at universities and international schools. But there are perhaps hundreds of private language-teaching establishments in Bangkok that hire noncredentialled teachers by the hour. Private tutoring is also a possibility. International oil companies pay the highest salaries for English instructors, but are also quite choosy.

A website maintained by a Bangkok-based English teacher, www.ajarn.com, has tips on finding jobs and pretty much everything else you need to know about getting into the teaching game in Thailand. If you’re more dedicated (or desperate) the Yellow Pages (www.yellow.co.th/Bangkok) has contact details for hundreds of schools, universities and language schools.

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