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Expats Leaving Thailand: Destination Malaysia

Posted by BigDummyKenny on November 21, 2014

As expats leave Thailand for Malaysia in droves, what’s motivating them to leave the Land of Smiles and move next door, to Malaysia?

Thailand’s Political Mess – There’s not much to say about this one, except to say many expats who value a stable and secure life don’t want to live in a country that could blow up into civil war at any moment.

Job Market More Open in Malaysia – As Thailand continues to discriminate against expats, allowing them to do only a small number of jobs, the job market in Malaysia is more open. Like most developed countries, if there’s a shortage of local labor or it’s a job a local can’t do, a foreigner can. In Thailand, the job market to anything other than teaching or opening a business is, for all intents and purposes, closed to foreigners. Expats from countries where everyone has the right to do any job they want get tired of the discrimination in Thailand and decide Malaysia is a better choice.

Expats Can Buy Houses in Malaysia – Unlike Thailand, where expatss are not allowed to own land so can’t own a house, foreigners in Malaysia can buy almost any property they want. Other than not being allowed to buy some of the cheap low-end property (this is reserved for locals, so as not to price them out of the housing market and that’s fair enough), foreigners in Malaysia can buy an apartment, a townhouse or a house. As expats get tired of putting all their money into their Thai spouse’s name just to buy a house (and be ripped off along the way when the Thai spouse leaves and takes the house ownership with them), Malaysia is a more secure option.

Visas and Work Permits – Tired of jumping through the ever-changing hoops of the Thai visa and work permit mess, expats prefer Malaysia with its easy three month tourist visas, much-easier-to-get work permits and common sense requirements.

Building a Secure Life – Most expats want to have a stable future and build a life for themselves in their adopted country. In Thailand, where you are always discriminated against and always a second class citizen without any of the rights Thais have, why spend your time and energy working to help a country that sure as heck isn’t helping you? In Malaysia, you can create a life, work hard, contribute to Malaysian society and know you’ll also reap the benefits down the road in security and stability.

It’s a shame so many expats are leaving Thailand but with the above factors plus the ever worsening political and stability issues, it’s highly likely more will be following. Myself included.


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