IOM Study Highlights Poverty-Alleviating Effects of Migration in Lao PDR

Migration Research, Migration and Development

Thailand - The migration of Laotian migrants to Thailand has significant potential to impact on socioeconomic development and poverty reduction in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, a new IOM study has found.

Findings from the study: “Assessing Potential Changes in the Migration Pattern of Laotian Migrants and their Impacts on Thailand and Lao People’s Democratic Republic”, noted strong linkages between migration to Thailand and poverty reduction in Laotian households.

While the majority of migrants earned a THB 300 (USD 8.6) daily minimum wage, remittances are still significant, amounting to THB 39,980 (USD 1,143) per Laotian migrant per year and an estimated USD 331 million collectively.

Laotian migrants also reported benefiting from skills gained during their migration, helping them to find better jobs with higher wages and better conditions at home. 

Speaking at its launch event in Bangkok on Thursday, IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek said that the study showed evidence of the mutual benefits of migration for Lao PDR and Thailand.

“The migration of Laotian migrants not only benefits Thailand economically, but also has the potential to impact positively upon socioeconomic development in Lao PDR,” she said. 

The study also investigated the migration situation of Laotian migrants in Thailand – the first time comprehensive research has been conducted on a significant but thus far poorly understood migration trend in Thailand. The results revealed that the majority of Laotian migrants in Thailand are under 35, have limited education, are fully documented and have resided in the country for five years or less.

Other key findings included high levels of satisfaction with living and working conditions among the vast majority of Laotian migrants in Thailand, particularly those who had entered Thailand through the Government’s Memorandum of Understanding, and the significant role played by personal and social networks in facilitating migration and employment.

Conducted by IOM and Chulalongkorn University’s Asian Research Centre for Migration (ARCM), and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the in-depth study was carried out using quantitative and qualitative methods, including interviews with over 1,400 Laotian migrants.

The study is available at:

For further information, please contact Euan McDougall at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 (0)2 343 9341, Email: