Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin admits Thailand does not have attractive job offers to entice high-calibre Thais working overseas to return home. However, he hopes the Land Bridge megaproject will make them have a change of heart.
On Friday, Mr Srettha met members of the Thai community in the US at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.
Government spokesman Chai Wacharonke summarised the remarks given by the PM during the meeting.
Mr Srettha told the gathering he has two sons working overseas, but he wants them to return and spend their lives in their home country, Mr Chai said.
"I admit that Thailand has no better offers that can attract Thais overseas to work in Thailand. We need to promote and strengthen the country's capabilities," he said.
"Since assuming office more than two months ago, I have been travelling to several countries to do so, and this is one of the government's tasks."
"Another main task of this government is to tell the world that Thailand is now open to investments. There is no better time than now to invest in Thailand," the PM said.
"Several Thais in the US may be wondering how long they will stay in the US, but if Thailand has something better to offer, I believe several of you may want to come back home."
The PM said the government will try its best to improve the quality of life for Thais, so they can escape the middle-income trap, as well as boost the country's capabilities and maximise its potential.
Mr Srettha has previously said that even though the Land Bridge megaproject has yet to materialise, it will still help boost investor confidence while a new generation of people can rely on the project for a better future.
While the project will take time before it can get off the ground, young people are expected to see opportunities offered by the project and they may decide not to migrate and work in other countries, the prime minister said.
The 1-trillion-baht megaproject aims to develop a logistics network connecting Ranong province along the Andaman Sea to Chumphon along the Gulf of Thailand.
The project comprises deep-water ports in Ranong and Chumphon, a motorway cutting across the land to connect the two provinces and a railway system. The government is also touting it to attract foreign investment.
Mr Srettha also delivered a speech, "Interconnectedness and Building Inclusive and Resilient Economies", at the Apec Economic Leaders' Retreat in San Francisco on Friday.
Mr Chai disclosed the gist of the speech.
The prime minister said Thailand remains fully committed to multilateralism and Apec amid global uncertainties, working towards an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community, Mr Chai said.
Mr Srettha said tackling climate change must be prioritised and the Bangkok Goals on the Bio-circular and Green (BCG) Economy must also be advanced, he said.
He added that Apec had made significant progress this year, with over 280 projects responding to the goals.
The Apec Business Advisory Council also made great strides, notably through the BCG pledge and the inaugural Sustainable Future Forum to galvanise businesses and other stakeholders, he said.
Mr Srettha also said open trade and investment are needed to drive growth and prosperity.
Apec's support for the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core is the key, he said.
Thailand also calls for continued efforts on the Free Trade Area for Asia Pacific agenda work plan to advance regional economic integration, the spokesman quoted the prime minister as saying.