Officials discuss ASEAN migrant workers
Vientiane Times, 3 October 2008
Officials from the Lao Youth Union, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and other relevant ministries met yesterday in Vientiane to discuss migrant workers in the ASEAN region.
A labour ministry representative, Mr Thongdeng Singthilath, said Laos was open to trade and investment so migrant workers were an inevitable occurrence, especially among youth.
Mr Thongdeng made the comments during the meeting on the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
The objective of the meeting was to collect information on the reasons why Lao people migrated to other countries to find work. Participants discussed ways to help Lao and foreign migrant workers. Policy discussions on the law and the implementation of the ASEAN agreement, as well as the duty to protect the rights of migrant workers, were held.
Mr Thongdeng said the operators of development projects in Laos should hire Lao labour in all circumstances, expect those in which Lao workers were insufficiently skilled.
The ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers was agreed at the 12th ASEAN Summit on January 13, 2007, in Cebu, the Philippines.
It is an agreement between all ASEAN member states to protect the rights of migrant workers, develop human resource capacity, extend assistance and remuneration to migrant workers where possible, share information and encourage best practice.
Migrant workers come under scrutiny
By Meuangkham Noradeth
Vientiane Times, 6 October 2008
The improvement of workers' skills is a government priority because this segment of society has an important role to play in the country's development.
Deputy Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Youth Union, Mr Vilayvong Buddakham, made this point at a meeting in Vientiane on October 2-3 to discuss the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrant Workers.
He said that to drive development it was necessary to further develop human resources, especially young people, so that they learned essential skills.
The meeting was convened to enable participants to collect information on the reasons for worker migration, and discussed ways to help Lao and foreign migrant workers.
Participants also discussed policy on the law and implementation of the ASEAN agreement, as well as the duty to protect the rights of migrant workers.
The labour and social welfare sector has taken steps to solve the problem of unemployment in Laos by organising training programmes and improving workers' rates of pay.
It has also worked to protect both Lao and foreign workers, prevent human trafficking and build more vocational schools in each province.
Mr Vilayvong said the labour and social welfare sector had worked with other sectors concerned in implementing the labour law, especially in relation to salary payment, working hours and the provision of welfare.
In 2007, about 93,000 foreign workers came to work in Laos illegally, according to a report from the labour and social welfare sector.
The government has tried to solve the problem of illegal workers but migration to Vientiane persists because of the opportunities the city offers compared to rural areas. This attracts many workers to try their luck in employment here, Mr Vilayvong said.
He said many workers lived along the border and continued to work in neighbouring countries illegally. Strong regulatory measures were needed to control the number of people seeking work outside the country and also of those seeking work illegally in Laos.