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Illegal Foreign Workers Overstaying in Champassak

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Champassak officials have revealed that over 500 foreign labourers have been working illegally on construction sites and as traders and venders in the province and trying to avoid the authorities.Authorities progressed checking foreign labourers this year from March to June in order to implement a prime ministerial order issued at the end of last year instructing each province to solve the problems surrounding illegal workers.

Champassak and Khammuan provinces both held review meetings last Friday to discuss the registration and issuing of temporary certificates to illegal foreign labourers in their jurisdictions.

Director of the Champassak provincial Labour and Social Welfare Department Mr. Khamsay Meunluang, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that almost 4,500 foreign labourers were found overstaying in Champassak from March to June.

But more than 500 foreign labourers are hiding from the authorities because they have overstayed, he said.

These 500 labourers came into Laos with correct documents but are now hiding from the authorities because their documents may no longer be valid.

During the periods when the authorities were carrying out checks on foreign labourers, some may have travelled to stay in the provinces of Xekong, Saravan or Attapeu while others may have returned to their homes in Vietnam.

There are regulations on illegal foreigners requiring them to be fined and sent home but the rules in relation to foreign workers from some neighbouring countries have yet to be properly enforced.

These foreigners can be seen in many parts of the country working on construction sites and as traders and venders.

Four main ministries, those being Labour and Social Welfare, Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Industry and Home Affairs, have responsibility for overseeing foreigners working in Laos and ensuring they are doing so legally.

These foreigners entered Laos as visitors and legal workers but did not return after their visas expired. Instead they sought illegal employment.

Mostly they are working as hawkers, nail cutters, beauticians, scrap metal collectors or vegetable and seafood vendors in the country.

Former deputy PM Dr Phankham Viphavanh said at a meeting in Vientiane last year that he wanted to see the regulations on illegal foreigners being properly enforced this year.

In Vientiane, officials have mentioned when they will begin to enforce the regulations on undocumented foreign workers such as those working as scrap metal collectors or seafood vendors or plying the streets on their motorcycles and bicycles.

To most observers the situation doesn’t seem to have changed too much.

Source: Vientiane Times