New Migrant Worker Resource Centre opens in Lao PDR

Many Lao nationals seek work abroad. Migrant Worker Resource Centres provide a place where they can find out about their rights and support services in destination countries, as well as access legal counsel and referral support.

Press release | 09 August 2018
VIENTIANE (ILO News) – Lao migrant workers, their families and communities in Luang Prabang and neighbouring provinces will benefit from a new Migrant Worker Resource Centre (MRC) inaugurated on 9 August.

This is the fourth MRC in Lao PDR, where migrant workers can find out about their rights and support services in destination countries, as well as access legal counselling and referral support.

It is estimated that there are 1.3 million Lao nationals living abroad, of whom over half are women with Thailand being the largest destination country. Lao migrant workers in Thailand are predominantly employed in domestic work, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and entertainment work, mainly in neighbouring border provinces and larger cities. Financial remittances from migrant workers are a significant source of income within Lao PDR and an estimated US$116 million in remittances was received in 2016.

“One of the most effective ways to protect Lao migrant workers from abuse and exploitation, particularly non-payment or underpayment of wages and substandard working conditions, is to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and strategies to secure their labour and human rights during the migration cycle,” said Ms. Khemphone Phaokhamkeo, National Coordinator for the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Lao PDR.

The inauguration of the MRC was chaired by the Vice President of the Lao Federation of Trade Unions (LFTU), Mr. Simoun Ounlasy, together with the president of LFTU in Luang Prabang, Ms. Amphone Sivilaysack, and the ILO National Coordinator for Lao PDR.

During the event, Mr. Ounlasy welcomed the guests and emphasized LFTU’s role in protecting the rights, interests and safe employment of Lao workers, including migrants. He thanked the ILO for its support to LFTU in its efforts to provide information to Lao migrant workers.

The MRC has been established with the support of the ‘TRIANGLE in ASEAN’ programme, which is a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Global Affairs Canada, and the ILO. It will be run by LFTU in close collaboration with the Provincial Department of Labour and Social Welfare. TRIANGLE in ASEAN will continue to provide technical assistance.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the United Nations specialized agency dedicated to labour issues. Within a unique tripartite structure it brings together governments, employers and workers representatives to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all women and men. In Lao People Democratic Republic, the tripartite constituents are represented by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, the Lao Federation of Trade Unions, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme extends the cooperation between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Global Affairs Canada on protecting migrant workers and enhancing development opportunities. TRIANGLE in ASEAN aims to ensure that the benefits of labour migration are equally realised by men and women migrant workers; employers and governments. In shifting emphasis towards leveraging the development potential of migration, TRIANGLE in ASEAN aims to shape labour migration opportunities to support inclusive and sustainable growth in the ASEAN Economic Community. TRIANGLE in ASEAN engages institutionally with ASEAN and focuses on delivering in six countries (Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam).

For more information, please contact

Mr. Vongtavanh Sayavong
TRIANGLE in ASEAN programme Coordinator
tel: +856 20 7777 8421