Chinese investors have urged the Lao government to improve visa issuance procedures, saying that the current system is unsuitable and sluggish.
The concerns were raised when Lao and Chinese investors took part in a meeting under the theme of “Promoting Financial Cooperation, Build Together Laos-China Economic Relations,” on February 3, as part of the Laos-China Belt and Road Cooperation Forum (Feb 2-3) held in Vientiane.
Chinese investors say they are currently required to complete a lengthy application process in order to obtain a visa, according to the President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Laos, Boulapha Santikhongkha.
The Chinese investors brought up a range of other issues at the meeting, including the need for better tourism services, such as hotels and apartments, to accommodate the increasing number of Chinese visitors to Laos.
They also asked the government to consider the possibility of allowing foreign investors to purchase real estate in Laos.
Five documents were signed at the meeting, including cooperation on money transfer, loans, business representation, logistics facilities, and education.
The current visa process for investors involves entering the country on a tourist visa, submission and request of a temporary Labor Visa (B2), exit and re-entry of the country, and then issuance of a one year B2 Labor Visa or Investor Visa (NI-B2). This can take up to one month to complete, and the full visa is only applicable for those whose investments have already been approved.