Returning Migrant Labor Costs Lao Government Over LAK 15 Billion

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Lao labor returning to Laos
Lao labor returnees crossing into Savannakhet Province from Thailand (Security News)

The Lao government has spent over LAK 15.82 billion on food, transportation, and other necessities for Lao migrant workers returning from Thailand.

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Ms. Baykham Khattiya, said during the first extraordinary session of the ninth legislature last week that the Lao government has spent more than LAK 15.82 billion on assisting Lao returnees since March 2020.

“The Lao government has cooperated with the Thai government to ensure that both legal and undocumented Lao laborers are able to return to Laos amid the new wave of Covid-19 in Thailand,” said Minister Baykham.

“Since March of last year, authorities have established a large number of state quarantine centers in ten provinces across the country to accommodate Lao workers who desire to return home,” she said.

Authorities continue to collect information and coordinate with relevant sectors, particularly the Lao National Chamber of Commerce, in order to assist some returnees who want to work in Laos.

Domestic and foreign investment projects and Special Economic Zones are also keen to hire returnees, with such businesses now requiring over 6,000 workers.

Laos has seen a spike in cases of Covid-19 as thousands of migrant workers return home from Thailand where employment prospects are low and medical care is unavailable.

Deputy Minister Sanong Thongsana said that more than 15 percent of Lao laborers returning from Thailand have been found to be infected with Covid-19.

The total number of cases in Laos has now reached over 10,000.