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Laos, Thailand to team up on migrant workers’ issues

The Phnom Penh Post, Laos, 12 July 2021 - The Lao and Thai authorities agreed to continue their efforts to resolve labour-related issues to ensure safe labour migration. This should include workers get access to permanent employment and being entitled to sound and just welfare measures in Thailand amid the spread of Covid-19.

At a time when Thailand is fighting a tough battle against Covid-19 and new variants of the virus, both countries will review their labour policy to provide help to Lao workers, including those affected by the closure of factories due to the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.

Thai authorities have also agreed to gather detailed information on migrant workers who left their jobs in Thailand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Most of these workers had jobs in the industrial and services sectors.

The migrant workers will have to sign up online and be registered by an employer before mid-September in order to receive a work permit that will be valid until February 2023.

Lao labour authorities and their Thai counterparts discussed these issues during a virtual conference on labour management. They also considered ways to resolve the problem of undocumented workforce, including focusing on helping illegal workers wanting to return home or assisting those who wish to continue working in Thailand legally.

Anousone Khamsingsavath, director-general of the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare’s Department of Labour Skill Development and Employment, said the Lao side proposed to Thai officials that undocumented migrant workers from Laos should be allowed to work legally for about two years till the crisis caused by Covid-19 eases.

She said the Lao authorities also proposed to their Thai counterparts that they should upgrade the nationality status of Lao workers in Thailand, including the provision of benefits as stipulated in social security regulations.

The Lao workers should also be able to access free vaccines in Thailand and Thai authority should ensure employers take responsibility for sending back workers who have been repatriated, she said.



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