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Thais face challenges getting Asean jobs

Asia One - March 12, 2012. "Seven professions in the labour market will be freed up in 2015 by Asean nations under mutual recognition agreements (MRAs). But it will not be easy for Thai workers in these jobs to gain accreditation, Assoc Prof Patcharawalai Wongboonsin, a researcher from Chulalongkorn University's College of Population Studies, told a seminar last week."


Accreditation by foreign countries requires top qualifications, and most Thais would find it really hard to reach the criteria in order to be recognised in Asean, Patcharawalai said.

She spoke at a seminar on Thai workers' qualifications for the Asean labour market, held as part of a Future of Thai Education symposium, at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.

The seven occupations she referred to are: medical practitioners, dental practitioners, nursing services, engineering services, architectural services, surveying qualifications, and accountancy services.

Thais' lack of foreign-language skills was an obvious major obstacle, compared to people from Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Without accredita-tion by foreign countries, Thai engineers would lag behind rivals in Singapore and Malaysia in foreign recognition, she said, noting that Singapore had been accredited by many engineer-ing technology leaders, including the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Ireland, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Malaysia was trying for similar recognition.

"Now, less than 100 engineers across the region have been re-cognised as Asean chartered professional engineers because it's really tough and difficult to achieve the criteria," Patcharawalai added.

Only 3,712 engineers - just 2 per cent of the total 170,830 engineers in Thailand - have the necessary certificates, portfolios and eight years of continuous work experience. More newly graduated engineers who have just started their careers are likely to change to other fields.

The researcher said engineers who want to register as Asean chartered professionals had to apply to the Asean Chartered Professional Engineer Coordinating Committee. Important criteria include a bachelor's degree in engineering accredited by a professional agency in their own country or in countries that would hire them; having at least seven years' working experience; and having been in charge of important work for at least two years."



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