According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, more than 2,800 Lao nationals are currently working in South Korea on short-term contracts from 2022-2023.
These workers are employed under the Employment Permit System and Seasonal Worker Program, allowing them to work on farms and other small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
Each year, approximately 500 Lao nationals are selected to work in Korea after passing a Korean language test administered by the Human Resources Development Service of South Korea.
Workers are offered contracts lasting between five months and one year, with a minimum monthly wage of USD 1,600 to USD 2,000, and they may be eligible for social welfare benefits as well.
Korea accepts young workers from various ASEAN countries, including Laos, to work in SMEs in agriculture, the service sector, and other industries. However, despite the relatively less competitive Korean language test, only a small number of people in Laos are able to pass it, according to an official from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, as reported by Vientiane Times.
As of last year, statistics from the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare show that more than 500,000 Lao nationals are working overseas. The country is currently facing high inflation, which has led to a significant increase in the cost of living for its citizens. Despite this, most employers still offer low minimum wages, prompting more workers to seek better employment opportunities in neighboring nations, particularly Thailand.