Lao EconomyRules and Law

Govt Toughens Up On Foreign Worker Registration

Source: Vientiane Times

The labour and security sectors are gearing up to register and issue temporary work permits to foreign workers as part of government efforts to strictly regulate foreign nationals.

According to a report from the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, some 24,000 foreign workers were registered over the last year, mostly Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals.

The report was unveiled at a meeting held yesterday on the assessment and lessons learned from the previous registration and issuing of temporary work permits for foreign workers.

A total of 24,372 foreign workers have been granted temporary work permits across the country.

For the purposes of registration, foreign workers are classified into two groups.

The first are eligible for six-month and one-year statuses and include categories of vendors or people who operate a business in compliance with set regulations as well as those who work in the business and service sectors, on investment projects, or in special and specific economic zones.

The second group is eligible for three month status, which is allocated to itinerant vendors, people engaged in the breeding of livestock, and those who operate beauty salons, coffee shops, karaoke bars and game shops or those business o wners not yet operating with a licence.

In Laos, the issue of migrants entering the country to work without the necessary permission is a longstanding and contentious problem.

The government wants to regulate the increasing number of undocumented workers in Laos while generating more revenue f or the state budget.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Public Security, an initial timeframe was scheduled for mid-December 2015 to mid-March 2016 but the project was only able to conclu de at the end of September last year.

Authorities from the two sectors will continue to monitor foreign workers after their work permits have expired.

In addition, training for officials in both sectors will be given to enhance their responsibility in the strict and transparent enforcement of the law.

As a developing country, Laos needs workers for ongoing railway and power projects, especially foreign workers.

A recent report by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare sets a target to introduce 658,000 labourers by 2020 to meet the growing demand for labour in this country.

Strict enforcement of the law will enable foreign nationals to work in Laos legally while also helping them to comply with other employment regulations.