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Young People Favour Jobs in Thailand as Living Costs Skyrocket in Laos

Source: Vientiane Times

Rampant inflation in Laos and the depreciation of the kip, which has driven up the cost of living, are the prime motives for young people seeking jobs in Thailand, a labour official has said.

Thailand is the most popular place for job seekers, followed by the Republic of Korea.

At least 2,800 Lao nationals are currently working in Korea on short-term contracts.  They are employed on Korean farms and other areas under the Employment Permit System and the Seasonal Worker Programme agreed to between the governments of Laos and Korea.

Since January this year, some 31,394 skilled workers have left Laos to work abroad, with more than 30,200 people going to Thailand. Statistics also show that more than 246,000 Lao workers returned from Thailand last year, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

An anonymous official from the ministry’s Department of Labour Skill Development and Employment said Lao and Thai authorities plan to continue their efforts to resolve labour-related issues to ensure safe migration. This should include workers getting access to permanent employment in Thailand.

Every year, Lao and Thai authorities in charge of labour management meet to discuss the problem of undocumented labourers. Their goal is to provide assistance to illegal workers who want to return home or continue to work in Thailand legally.

The rising cost of living and low wages in Laos are forcing thousands of people to seek employment in other countries so they can earn more money and improve their standard of living, the official said.

Thailand has about 2.2 million registered migrant workers, mainly from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, but many others work informally in sectors such as fishing, farming, construction, and industries.

Last year, as many as 500,712 Lao nationals were working overseas, including 27,176 women, official statistics show.

Most found jobs in Thailand, while just over 50 people were working in Japan, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.