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Vientiane takes action to regulate foreign workers

Publication Date : 10-10-2012


Vientiane authorities are currently working with their district counterparts to take action to regulate foreign workers in the capital, a senior official said yesterday.

There are more than 4,000 foreigners in the capital - mostly from neighbouring countries. The numbers include both legal and illegal foreign expatriates, according to an initial report from the authorities.

Officials from the Vientiane Labour and Social Welfare Department have been visiting district offices to explain the measures which will be put in place following the recent government announcement that details what action will be taken.

The department's Deputy Director, Naenthong Leumaisone, told the Vientiane Times yesterday that the department will conclude the meetings with district authorities this week.

District authorities aim to finish registering and issuing temporary work permits to foreigners next month. Later, foreigners will be required to seek longer term work permits from the department, Naenthong said.

Director General of the Labour Management Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Khamkhane Phinsavanh told the Vientiane Times that the ministry has already issued an announcement to provincial departments instructing them to take similar action to regulate foreign workers across the country.

Initial data collected shows there are more than 54,000 foreign workers in Laos including more than 15,000 who are in the country illegally, Khamkhane said.

Officials said the issue will be addressed based on measures laid down in the government's announcement.

The measures stipulate that foreigners presently working as hawkers, nail cutters, beauticians, scrap metal collectors, vegetable and seafood vendors in markets, or engaged in other informal work will not be allowed to obtain work permits allowing them to stay.

Development projects and businesses are required to register their foreign employees and complete paperwork to obtain temporary work permits and temporary residential certificates for any foreign employees who have no such documents or whose documents are now invalid.

Employers are required to obtain short-term documents from district offices, then obtain long-term documents from provincial offices. Employees who do not have such documents will not be allowed to stay in the country.

In an exception to the normal rules, special regulations will apply to foreigners who are currently working on the construction of facilities for the Asia-Europe Meeting Summit, which takes place in Vientiane next month.

Foreigners found owning and operating businesses such as wholesale or retail shops, garment-making and livestock farms without a business licence can apply for legal documents if the value of the business amounts to at least 1 billion kip (US$ 125m431).

Those whose business value is below one billion kip but not less than 250 million kip will be given a two-year period to grow their business to one billion kip, then apply for legal documents.

Those failing to fulfill the requirement will not be allowed to remain in the country.

*US$1= 7972.5 kip


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