Press Release —Local

IOM, Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Promote Ethical Recruitment of Migrant Workers

Vientiane – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) have organized an International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) training for Lao People’s Democratic Republic recruitment agencies to promote ethical recruitment and better protect the rights of Lao migrant workers.

The two-day workshop, which attracted 37 participants from 24 recruitment agencies, aimed to increase awareness of ethical recruitment practices; provide practical information on the IRIS standard; and explain how to become IRIS certified. IRIS was established by IOM and a coalition of public and private sector partners committed to ethical recruitment and the protection of migrant workers.

Popular destinations for Lao migrant workers include Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea. In 2018 over 90,000 Lao migrants went to work in neighbouring Thailand under a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. There has also been increasing transnational cooperation between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the rest of Asia in recent years.

Misato Yuasa, Head of Office of IOM in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, noted that migrants who migrate with the help of recruitment agencies or informal brokers often do not have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of their future employment and often risk exploitation and abuse. “They may need to spend many months working to repay those costs, and employers may deduct inflated service fees directly from their salary,” she said.

MoLSW Director General of Skills Development and Employment Anousone Khamsingsavath told workshop participants that it was important for them to gain more knowledge about ethical recruitment and IRIS. “I would like all of you to be active and involved. Eventually it will improve your companies’ services,” she said.

The training was part of a regional IOM programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – “Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE)”.

PROMISE, which is in its second year of implementation, aims to strengthen the linkages between labour migration to Thailand and poverty reduction in the region. It focuses on engaging employers and training institutions in skills development, facilitating ethical recruitment and protection, and improving migrant workers’ access to safe migration and decent employment opportunities.

For more information please contact Misato Yuasa at IOM Vientiane, Tel: + 856 (0) 21 267 734, Email: