Laos toughens up on foreign workers

business March 15, 2017 01:00

By  VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
VIENTIANE

THE LABOUR and security sectors in Laos are gearing up to register and issue temporary work permits to foreign workers as part of |government efforts to regulate|foreign nationals strictly.



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

The report was unveiled at a meeting this week on the assessment of and lessons learned from the previous registration and issuing of temporary work permits for foreigners.

A total of 24,372 foreign workers have been granted temporary 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.

Three-month status 

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 owners not yet operating with a licence.

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

The government wants to regulate the increasing number of undocumented workers while generating more revenue for the state budget.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Public Security, an initial time frame was scheduled for mid-December 2015 to mid-March 2016 but the project was only able to conclude 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 foreigners.

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.