IOM, Lao Ministry of Public Security Led Points of Entry Mapping Assessment

Posted: 
09/01/20
Themes: 
COVID-19

Vientiane – On 28 August 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Immigration (DOI), Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) conducted a rapid assessment at two Points of Entry (PoE) in Vientiane Capital.

Nine representatives from IOM and DOI visited the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I and the Wattay International Airport (VTE) to observe the operational procedures and processes in border management amid COVID-19. The team assessed the capacities of existing infrastructure, personnel and discussed best practice and future plans under the project, to better protect travellers, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective immigration and border management.

During the visit, IOM observed both inbound and outbound processes and flow to collect first-hand information on how to strengthen surveillance. COVID-19 detection and prevention mechanisms were in place at the Friendship Bridge and airport, while more resources are needed to enhance PoE capacities in handling larger numbers of returnees.

The team also met with PoE authorities to better understand their needs and discuss how the project can best support in addressing challenges arising under the current and future pandemics. Khamphone Thepphavanh, Chief of Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, thanked IOM for the support and was eager to see upcoming collaborations.

The findings of this assessment will be used to support the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for incoming and outgoing passengers, and address personal protective equipment (PPE) and infrastructure needs at PoEs.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed mobility and trade patterns, as travel restrictions created new risks for migrants, many have become stranded or found themselves in irregular situations.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection, and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination, and return.  

This activity is part of IOM’s project Support on responding to cross mobility challenges at points of entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with joint funding from the Australian Government and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 734. Email: kho@iom.int

  • Representatives from IOM and MoPS conducting a rapid assessment at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge.

  • The team walked through the passages of travellers arriving at Wattay International Airport.

  • IOM and DOI met with POE authorities to better understand the situation.