The migration of Westerners to Thailand: An unusual flow from developed to developing world

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Abstract
Thousands of Westerners migrate to Thailand; some go to expatriate jobs and some are self-funded retirees but many are former tourists who live precariously for years on small local salaries with insecure visa status. The present study examined demographics, reasons for migration, well-being, perceived assimilation and experiences of Westerners living in or who had lived in Thailand for at least one year. Westerners were studied in-country and 1003 current and former migrants completed an online survey. Common migration motives were a preference for Thai lifestyle and culture, low living costs, a warm climate, and readily-available, attractive sexual partners. Most Westerners in-country reported feeling well-assimilated; half had Thai partners, and most planned to stay for life. Their major reported problems were the difficult Thai language, visa policies, and official corruption. Common reasons for leaving Thailand were financial or disillusionment, occasioned in some cases by perceived poor assimilation.
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Howard, Robert
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Publication Year
2009
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Journal Article
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