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Vientiane to regulate illegal foreign-run fish farms
Publication Date : 12-02-2013
Vientiane authorities will take steps to regulate the nine illegal fish farms run by Chinese in Xaythany district following a visit to the district by the committee responsible for the oversight of foreigners in the capital.
Chinese were reportedly operating 13 fish farms in the district, but only four farm operators can produce legal documents, deputy director of the Vientiane Labour and Social Welfare Department, Naenthong Leumaisone, told the Vientiane Times yesterday.
Nine other farms have been reported as being run by the Chinese, who are using licences that carry the names of Lao people.
Naenthong said many of these Chinese did not attend the meeting with the committee last week as requested to present their business documents.
Deputy mayor of Vientiane Saithong Keoduangdy, who chaired the meeting, asked the district authorities to decide how they will persuade the Chinese fish farmers to present their operating documents by February 28.
“Those who refuse to show us the documents relating to their operations will have their businesses seized beginning on March 1,” Naenthong said, citing the instruction issued by Saithong.
The Chinese fish farmers are required to have the proper documents in their own names in order to carry out their business.
According to the regulations, foreigners found operating businesses such as wholesale or retail shops, tailor shops and livestock farms without a business licence can apply for legal documents if the value of their business amounts to at least one billion kip (US$126,200).
Those whose business 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 failing to fulfill the requirement will not be allowed to remain in Laos.
Some of those operating fish farms in Xaythany district initially entered Laos for other purposes, such as working at the Sang Chieng Chinese shopping centre or on various development projects.
Saithong asked district officials to ensure that they return to their original places of work.
The Deputy mayor suggested that the district authorities recheck reports that some Lao people, after being paid by the Chinese, have bought large plots of land to be used as fish farms. If they find this to be true, he asked the authorities to pursue the matter.
Officials warned Lao people who have given fish farm licences to foreigners not to do this because it is illegal. District officials were instructed to look into the matter and resolve it.
Vientiane is launching a pilot scheme to regulate illegal foreign workers and traders in line with government instructions.
More than 6,400 foreigners - mostly from neighbouring Vietnam and China - have been reported as living in the capital. Of these, only 1,624 have work permits, while the rest are working and running businesses illegally.
According to the regulations, foreigners working in Laos without a work permit and other necessary documents will be allowed to obtain legal documents if their workplace or employer can certify them and facilitate the procedures required to obtain the correct paperwork.
Foreigners presently working as hawkers, nail cutters, beauticians, scrap metal collectors or vegetable and seafood vendors in markets or doing other informal work will be sent back to their country of origin.