A report from on the declining Nordic presence in Thailand

The flags of the countries of Scandinavia waving in the sky of a beautiful summer day.

The number of Nordic business people in Thailand and the number of Nordic people on retirement visa or visa linked to their Thai family have been declining during the first five months of this year. This is the first decline in 12 years. If the trend continues, there will only be 861 Nordic people on a business visa left in Thailand by the end of the year.

In 2018, 435 Nordic businesspeople renewed their business visa during the first five month of that year. This year, only 395 businesspeople renewed their visa. While some new businesspeople may have moved in, more must have decided to move out, leaving a net decline in Nordic businesspeople in Thailand of 40 people or 10 percent.

The downward trend is stronger than the total for all foreign nationalities in Thailand, where the decline in business visa renewals went down 2 percent during this period to a total of 5536 renewals.

Nordic people on retirement visa or visa related to their Thai family also declined. Last year, 3837 Nordic people renewed their O-visa during these first five months of the year. This year during the same five months, only 3788 people renewed their O-visa. The net decline was 49 people.

The category “others”, which includes students on E-visa declined 89 people from 1174 last year to 1085 this year; a decline of 7.5 percent.

Even renewal of tourist visas went down with 65 renewals to 11,752 renewals.

Prognosis for 2019

If the trend during the first five months continues the rest of the year, there will by year end of 2019 be 128 Norwegians on business visa, 133 Finns on business visa, 426 Swedes on business visa, 164 Danes on business visa and 10 Icelandic people on business visa.

The total of 861 Nordic people on business visa will be a decline of 44 persons from the total number of 905 business visa renewals in 2018, equal to a decline of 4.9 percent.

As for retirement and family visas, there will by year end of 2019 be 2846 Norwegians, 533 Finns, 3096 Swedes, 1096 Danes and 62 Icelandic nationals. That will be a total of 7633 Nordic persons by year end, down 165 persons from 7798 Nordic persons on retirement visa or family visa by the end of last year, 2018.

Reversal of growths since 2007

The Nordic business community used to grow steadily with 10 percent annually from 423 persons renewing their business visa in 2007 to 774 people in 2013. The last couple of years, the annual growth has gone down to 1.1 percent from 885 persons in 2016 to 905 persons in 2018.

This year, 2019, is the first year where the growth in the business community can be expected to be a negative of 4.9 percent.

All figures are based on statistics provided by the Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police.