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Illegal foreign workers granted temporary documents in Laos

Publication Date : 10-01-2014


Some 1,074 foreign workers residing in Vientiane who are without work permits have been documented in a move to legalise their status, a senior government official announced recently.

Vientiane authorities have issued two-month validity documents to the workers, that will give them time to obtain permits enabling them to work in Laos legally.

More than 225 million kip (US$28,005) was collected from the issuance fees for the two-month validity documents, Deputy Director of Vientiane Labour and Social Welfare Department, Naenthong Leumaisone said yesterday.

Vientiane began action months ago to carry out a pilot scheme to regulate illegal foreign workers, small-scale traders and business operators.

Officials said more work needed to be done to follow up those who were issued with the two-month temporary documents to ensure they obtain work permits and other required documents.

In total, 7,500 foreigners, both legal and illegal workers, have been reported in the capital, mostly from neighbouring China and Vietnam.

Of the total, 3,000 expatriates will be sent back home countries as their conditions fail to meet criteria to request work permits, as stipulated by the relevant regulations.

However Naenthong said mechanisms to send their workers back to their countries of origin remain missing, as they are not specified in the relevant regulations.

“Sending them back should be managed by the government or a central organisation,” he said, adding that local authorities should not be placed in the position to undertake such work.

Vientiane authorities will seek guidance from the government regarding the planned repatriation of illegal workers deemed ineligible for permits.

According to the regulations, foreigners working in Laos without a work permit are allowed to submit paperwork to obtain legal documents if their employer certifies them and facilitates the procedures required to obtain the documents.

But those working as hawkers, nail cutters, beauticians, scrap metal collectors or vegetable and seafood vendors in markets will be sent back to their countries of origin.

In addition, the authorities are carrying out works to enforce the regulations which also require foreigners who are operating businesses such as wholesale or retail shops, tailoring shops and livestock farms without a business licence to register their businesses in accordance with relevant laws.

According to the regulations, operators can register to legalise their businesses if their total worth amounts to at least one billion kip.

Those whose value is less than one billion kip but not less than 250 million kip will be given a two-year period in which to grow their business to one billion kip, after which they can apply for legal documents. Those who fail will not be allowed to stay in the countr y.

Xaythany district officials said 12 fish farms out of 13 farms operated by Chinese in the district have now registered their businesses and are operating in line with required conditions. The official said they will continue efforts to manage the one farm that has yet to comply.

US$1 = 8,034.33 LAK




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