Ministry Renews Registration for Illegal foreign workers

To go with AFP story 'Laos-economy-invest-China,FEATURE' by Amelie Bottollier-Depois Photo taken March 11, 2011 shows Chinese workers repairing a road leading to the border town of Boten, a special economic zone land hired by China, in the Northern province of Luang Namtha. Recently still dependent on foreign development aid, Laos is benefitting from massive investments from its vietnamese and chinese neighbours. AFP PHOTO / HOANG DINH Nam

Authorities have extended registration for illegal foreign expatriates who are working in Laos illegally, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare has said.

The extension was made after the last registration period from January to September this year was phased out, which has registered 24,000 foreigners working illegally in provinces across Laos.

The minister, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, told local media recently that local workplaces in Laos still need additional labour thus utilising foreigners is still necessary.

He stated that some workplaces or projects in some localities suffered from labour shortages when foreign expatriates who had no work permits were prohibited from work or sent back to their countries of origin.

This impacted the production levels of enterprises or project operations.

Thus, he said, “We decided to continue registering foreign workers [who are still working illegally],” adding that he has told provincial departments to continue carrying out the registration and inspection of the issue.

The 24,000 foreign workers registered during the last phase are mostly Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals respectively, according to information from the Labour Management Department of the ministry.

These foreigners entered Laos as workers with development projects but did not return home after the projects was phased out and their visas became invalid; instead they sought work illegally. Some came in as visitors but sought employment or engaged in trading activities illegally.

The registered alien expatriates whose conditions meet the required criteria were given six months to apply for and obtain legal documents comprising a residence permit, visa and work permit so that they are entitled to work legally in Laos.

To meet the conditions, the foreigners are required to have a workplace to certify their employment. Those foreigners such as hawkers and nail cutters or painters are given three months to clear all things and return hto their home countries afterward.

In a move to supply a larger workforce to meet the growing demand for labour in domestic workplaces, the ministry has set a target to produce 658,000 labourers by 2020 while this year it has provided 132,000 workers.

Source: Vientiane Times