8 professions to face tough competition
The NationMembers of eight professions look set to face fierce competition from foreigners after the Asean Economic Community (AEC) materialises in 2015, according to a senior official at the Labour Ministry.
"I believe there will be particularly high competition among doctors, nurses, engineers and architects," Singhadej Chu-amnart said yesterday. He heads the ministry's International Cooperation Bureau.
He said the AEC would pave the way for the free flow of skilled labour in eight professions. Asean members have already made agreements to facilitate free labour movement among seven types of professionals: doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers, architects, accountants and surveyors.
"We are going to conclude the agreement on workers in the tourism trade soon. This is the eighth profession," Singhadej said. In the tourism industry, "professionals" will include receptionists, laundry attendants, tour guides, cleaners and more.
Singhadej said professional bodies governing doctors, dentists, nurses, engineers and architects in Thailand had worked out criteria for professionals in their fields to ensure they met Mutual Recognition Arrangements agreed to by all Asean nations.
"Malaysian professionals will likely pose the biggest challenge to Thais."
He played down concerns that many Thai nurses and doctors might move to work in foreign countries after the AEC materialises. "Today, the pay for nurses and doctors in Thailand is soaring. Besides, I believe Thais want to work in their homeland much more than taking a job overseas."
He said available information also showed that many foreigners holding a degree in medicine now worked as medical assistants at private hospitals in Thailand. He said there were now up to 40 foreigners holding degrees in medicine per 100 Thai doctors at large Thai private medical facilities.
"Because of current laws, they can't work as doctors here even if they have been trained as doctors." He noted there were up to 24 foreigners holding degrees in nursing per 100 Thai nurses at private hospitals in Thailand.
Medical Council adviser Dr Somsak Lohlekha said he did not think doctors would be able to cross borders easily after the AEC materialises. "Foreigners with a degree in medicine will have to pass tests organised by professional bodies in each country anyway," he said.
He pointed out that Thailand's Medical Council, for example, would still hold tests for foreigners to pass before they could start working as doctors here.
"To date, most foreigners fail the test because of language/cultural barriers," Somsak said.http://www.nationmultimedia.com/
-- The Nation 2012-01-17
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