IOM and the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Commemorate International Labour Day 2021


Vientiane – On 19 and 20 April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) convened an awareness raising campaign for the promotion of safe migration and ethical recruitment on the occasion of International Labour Day (1 May) and World Day against Child Labour (12 June), under IOM’s regional programme for Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) and regional Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement (PROMISE) project supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Laudes Foundation.

Many Lao workers choose to migrate internally from rural provinces to Vientiane, or internationally to Thailand or other destinations in search or better job opportunities. IOM’s research shows that migrants do not always seek information about their destination and may not have a plan for their journey, fully understand their contract, benefits, or rights. With limited exposure to official information, migrants tend not to register their residency, face challenges in accessing public services, finding a job and accommodation.

This year’s event aims to promote migrant workers’ rights and provide knowledge on safe and regular migration, among workers, employers, and government authorities. IOM and MoLSW have now developed key information which help both employers and employees, international and internal migrants to improve knowledge on safe migration, ethical recruitment, and decent work. Through consultations with employers and workers, identify labour rights issues faced by internal and international migrant workers. All of which contribute to designing future interventions to address challenges faced by migrant workers with close collaboration with the private sector.

Delegates from IOM, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the MoLSW, together with representatives from recruitment agents, visited Labour Units around Vientiane Capital, including Hoya Lao Co. Ltd in the Saysettha Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Lao Quality Sole Co. Ltd, Trio Co. Ltd and Trimax Co. Ltd to meet with workers and management and raise their awareness on safe migration and ethical recruitment.

Mdm. Baykham Khattiya, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, and Zena Van Bemmel Faulkner, Programme Officer at IOM observed the working conditions at the factories to identify ways to better protect migrant workers and optimize the benefits of labour migration. “One of the main objectives of our visit today is to encourage labour units to register with the National Social Security Fund for the benefit of the workforce. Observing the actual working environment of the workers will help us develop the law and regulation that corresponds with the actual situation.” Mdm. Baykham added.

Following the completion of the Labour Day event, IOM will conduct a follow-up employer survey under PROMISE to enhance recognition of the difficulties faced and needs of employers during COVID-19. The findings will inform potential action plan to implement the suggestions and solutions, contributing to strengthening the protection of women and men internal and international migrant workers to ensure a safer and more successful migration and employment experience.

Under its CREST programme, IOM aims to uphold human rights and labour rights of migrant workers in business operations and supply chains. CREST works towards the protection of migrant workers, including better access to ethical recruitment channels, eradication of fees charged to migrants, transparent employment terms and conditions, and effective remedy.

  • IOM and the MOLSW handing over information materials on ethical recruitment, decent work, and safe migration to a garment factory in Vientiane Capital as part of the International Labour Day 2021 event. Photo: IOM Lao PDR/2021

  • Garment and manufacturing industry in Vientiane Capital is one of the major employers for internal migrants from other provinces. Photo: IOM Lao PDR/2021

  • Minister Mdm. Baykham Khattiya asked a woman worker about her work in the factory. Photo: IOM Lao PDR/2021