Calls For Tough New Immigration Law: NA Members

National Assembly members want the newly drafted law on migration management to satisfy those who are concerned about the influx of people from neighbouring countries.

This concern has been passed through NA members to the current NA debate session, which ends today.

The issue was among those most raised by NA members when debating the draft law on migration yesterday.

Sharing her experiences, NA member for Vientiane Dr Buakham Thipphavon began by referring to blacklisted people, suggesting the relevant authorities check the background of foreign investors to prevent fraudulent or deceptive conduct.

Article 12 of the law deals with people barred from entry into Laos, including those who have insufficient resources to fund their temporary stay in the country.

Dr Buakham reminded the session about the crowds of foreigners who are making a living in Laos as barbers, manicurists and other such occupations.

“If we can enforce the law a huge number of these people will leave Laos, and the country will be free of their burden,” she said.

Referring to her time spent studying in Vietnam when she often passed through the Nam Phao border checkpoint, she recalled how people could illegally enter Laos by getting off the bus about 500 metres before the checkpoint, walking across the border and getting back on the bus when it had gone some distance from the border.

“Our people are very upset to see the consequences of immigration,” Dr Buakham said.

NA member for Xieng Khuang province Mr Vilaysouk Phimmasone also told the session that the immigration of foreigners’ families, the ease with which people could cross the border by motorcycle and bicycle, and drug trafficking was a serious problem in his province.

He asked the drafting sub-committee to create strong measures to address the problem.

The frequent loss of passports by some nationals was also mentioned by NA members, which they said could be intentional as it might help them to stay permanently in Laos. When applying to their embassy for a new passport they had no means of identification that would establish them as a citizen of that country, so they remained in Laos.

“We will not point out which country, but the governments of some countries have given loans to their citizens so they can live in another country on the condition that if they can get permanent residence they don’t need to repay the loan,” NA member for Vientiane Dr Duangsavath Souphanovong said.

Deputy Minister of Public Security, Brigadier General Kongthong Phongvichit, represented the drafting committee in giving additional explanations of the draft.

On the issue of financial resources, he said strict checks had focused on citizens from targeted countries to ensure the security and interests of the Lao people.

Concerning lost passports, Brig Gen Kongthong said the authority receiving the loss claim should closely investigate the circumstances of the loss.

If the loss was found to be genuine, the authority concerned should authorise the passport holder to apply to their embassy for a new passport.

NA members also suggested enhancing the Sam Sang (Three Builds) directive as they believed grassroots authorities lacked the capacity to deal with unregulated foreigners in Laos.

Source: Vientiane Times

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