When trying to find a job teaching English in Thailand, especially if it’s your first time, some prospective teachers turn to a hiring agency for help. Before settling for the first hiring agency you stumble upon, consider what they offer beyond the salary. Here are a few things to keep in mind while looking for the best hiring agencies in Thailand.
A hiring agency often bridges the language gap and professional responsibilities between a Thai school and an English teacher. More importantly, they take care of job placement, legal paperwork, paychecks, schedules and time off, and providing substitutes.
So what do the best hiring agencies in Thailand have to offer?
Finds You a Job
First and foremost, a hiring agency finds you a teaching position at a good school. To do so,
- you meet their minimum hiring requirements
- the hiring agency has a position available at one of their contracted schools.
The best hiring agencies in Thailand should also offer future job support. Will they help you find another job if your current position is not working out? Are they flexible in the positions to which they hire out, such as summer, part-time, or substitute work? These are all good questions to ask.
Although each school is different, our experience has been that it’s the school’s responsibility to pay the hiring agency, not you. We’d be wary about paying a hiring agency for finding you a job, whether a one-time fee or a deduction from your contracted salary. Once you’ve agreed to a monthly salary from the hiring agency, you should get the full amount without any surprise deductions when payday comes around.
Provides the Correct Paperwork to Obtain Legal Documents
At the very least, a hiring agency provides a teacher with all supporting paperwork to first apply for a single-entry Non Immigrant Business Visa and then later apply for a Work Permit. These are what you need to legally work in Thailand. Before the 90-day expiration date, a Non Immigrant Business Visa must be extended (to one year). The hiring company must provide the supporting paperwork for that extension (applied for at your nearest immigration office) and you must have been already approved for and received a Work Permit.
Thailand’s hiring agencies who are on top of their game will provide the paperwork in a timely manner. An acceptable time frame is within two to four weeks. If a hiring agency cannot or will not give you the paperwork to get a Non Immigrant Business Visa or a Work Permit, then it’s best to find yourself another hiring agency.
|TIP: It is ultimately your responsibility to have the correct paperwork when applying for a Non Immigrant B Visa. Double check the documents given to you (counting them is the easiest) against the online list of the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate to which you are applying.|
Your Paycheck is Paid in Full, On Time, Every Time
Whether you are paid weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, you should know exactly when and how much you will be paid. Establish a clear method of payment, whether it be cash, direct deposit, or check up front before you sign a contract.
The better hiring agencies will provide you with a paycheck that is always on time and paid in full. If any payment is docked, it should be accounted for, such as Thai taxes and time off. If you’ve signed a contract for a given salary and find yourself getting cut short for obscure reasons, you need to question your agency.
Provides a Clear Work Policy
Ask about the work policies of both the hiring agency and the school. This includes the hours you work, applying for time off, breaks and lunch hours, handling sick days, the grading system and submitting grades, completing and submitting lesson plans, and handling problematic students. You should be notified ahead of time and compensated for any time spent teaching on weekends, holidays, or after school. The best hiring companies make it clear upfront to prevent any misunderstandings later.
Schedules Substitute Teachers
If you need or want to take time off, a hiring agency should be responsible for scheduling a substitute teacher. In the case that the hiring agency does not provide substitute teachers and requires you to find your own replacement, you should be made aware of that up front.
Also, consider asking what you are required to give the substitute teacher. This may include detailed lesson plans, worksheets, or other materials. Or, the hiring agency may supply a general lesson plan on your behalf.
Pays for Legal Documents
Hiring agencies are obligated to provide the paperwork for the proper work documentation, but the best ones will actually pay for the legal documents, too, including:
- Work Permit (3,000 baht)
- One-year visa extension (1,900 baht)
These expenses add up quickly for a new teacher and can be a significant portion of your first month’s salary! On top of finding a place to live, buying work clothes, and generally adjusting to a new life in Thailand, it relieves much of the initial financial burden if the hiring agency pays for these legal expenses.
|NOTE: You will be responsible for paying for your own single-entry Non Immigrant Business Visa. This varies in price depending on which at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate outside of Thailand you apply at. For example, this visa costs 2,000 baht from Laos, 80 USD from the USA, and 60 EU in the European Union.|
Grants Paid Sick or Vacation Days
A typical semester runs around 18 weeks and full-time salaried teachers should receive paid sick or personal leave days. The typical amount is between two and five days paid leave. If not, ask what the hiring agency’s policy is if you want or need to take a day off (docked pay, counseling, loss of job, etc). You will also get time off during Thai government holidays, which is roughly four days per semester.
The agency should give you a work schedule that lists work days, holidays, and semester breaks. You should be able to know exactly what your schedule is upfront if you want or need to take time off.
Some hiring agencies offer their employees health insurance. Healthcare is relatively affordable out-of-pocket and there are many insurance companies to choose from. However, it’s convenient to have coverage right at your fingertips.
Pays for Traveling Expenses
It’s great to find a hiring agency that pays for your traveling expenses during a visa run. Some pay for the transportation, accommodations, and the neighboring country’s visa fees accrued while leaving Thailand to apply for a Non Immigrant B Visa.
Others say they pay for a round-trip ticket to Thailand once you’ve completed your contract. The best hiring agencies in Thailand will offer a helping hand to cover these major expenses.
Our Picks for Best Hiring Agencies in Thailand
While we aren’t aware of the perfect hiring agency that covers everything we’ve mentioned above, we do have a few in mind that come close.
Sine Education, which hires and trains teachers for their schools in Greater Bangkok, Central Thailand, and Northeastern (Isaan) Thailand, is a great contender, especially for first-time teachers. We wrote about them in a more recent post, where we answer the question, “Should first-time teachers use a teaching agency in Thailand?”
There are also several hiring agencies in Chiang Mai that come close. It’s a small town in Northern Thailand and it’s a great place to live if you don’t want to be in the city.
Keep in mind, a hiring agency should meet the minimum requirements of finding you a job; providing the correct paperwork for your Non Immigrant Business Visa, Work Permit, and extension; and always paying you in full.
Good luck with your future teaching endeavors!