logo

Laos: Govt legislates penalties against illegal foreign workers, business operators

The government has imposed the penalties on illegal foreign workers and businesses operators in a bid to regulate the issue and ensure that expatriates in Laos comply with the law.
Any foreigner or stateless person who undertakes a job that is not legally permitted by the relevant authorities will be fined and further penalised.
Those committing a first violation will be fined 2 million kip, according to Article 16 of Decree No. 21, which the government issued recently on fines and measures against individuals who violate the laws and regulations regarding exit and entry into Laos, and the management of foreigners in Laos.
The fines will rise further to 3 and 5 million kip respectively for a second or third breach of the rules. Those committing a third violation will have their residence permit revoked and will be deported and prohibited from reentering Laos.
The 13-page decree, which comes into force on March 12, is part of government attempts to more strictly regulate illegal foreign workers and business operators.
It comes in the wake of previous reports which suggested that many people from neighbouring countries are working in Laos illegally.
Some entered Laos as visitors but did not return home, while some came in as legal workers with development projects but did not return home after the projects finished. Instead, they found other work or carried out a business illegally, often doing jobs or operating small-scale businesses in fields reserved for Lao nationals.
Lao authorities warned that foreigners and stateless individuals operating a business without a licence or business registration would be fined and further penalised. Repeated violations would incur a harsher penalty.
Foreign nationals running a business without a licence will be fined 4 million kip for a first violation. The fine will rise to 7 million kip for a second offence and the business operation will be suspended, according to the decree’s Article 17.
A separate regulation issued previously by authorities in charge of regulating illegal foreign workers and businesses specify the criteria that businesses must fulfil in order to legalise their operations. These require the value of the business to reach a certain level before the operator can apply for a licence and registration with the relevant authorities.
The decree states that the fine will rise to 10 million kip for foreigners who commit a third violation in this regard and their business will be shut down. In addition, offenders will be deported and prohibited from reentering Laos.
Foreigners who unlawfully lease a business licence from another person, entity or organisation will also face legal action. A first offence will incur a fine of 5 million kip. The fine will increase to 10 million kip for a second infringement and the offender will be deported and banned from reentering Laos.
Anyone who illegally leases a business licence to a foreigner will also be fined and further penalised. The fines rank from four to seven and 10 million kip for first, second and third violations respectively. The owner of the business licence may lose the licence if the offence is repeated.

Source: https://www.vientianetimes.org.la/freeContent/FreeConten_Govt_48.php