Laos, S. Korea ink deal on financing for Lao workers overseas

Workers selling products at the Jeonju New Joongang Market in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province, South Korea. - Bloomberg

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): BNK Capital Lao Non-Deposit Taking Microfinance Institution Co, Ltd (BNK MFI) of the Republic of Korea and Laos’ Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in providing financial services to Lao nationals planning to work in Korea, through the provision of low interest sources of financing.

The agreement relates to the Seasonal Worker Programme for Lao nationals in Korea and was signed last Friday by the Director General of the Department of Employment of Laos’ Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Anousone Khamsingsavath, and Managing Director of BNK MFI, Dr Ko Hyunsik, in the presence of senior officials from the ministry and Korean nationals.

The contract specifies the scope of cooperation between BNK MFI and Laos in providing access to financing for Lao nationals to work abroad for a period of three years.

Under the agreement, BNK MFI will facilitate seasonal employment for Lao workers in Korea’s agriculture and fishery sectors.

Employers in agriculture are registered as those who own and manage a farm and grow crops. The Lao ministry’s Department of Employment will establish a channel to communicate with Lao nationals working on farms in Korea.

Ms Anousone said cooperation with BNK MFI will enable the proper processing of documents relating to financing for Lao nationals working in Korea. At the same time, the process will allow the government to collect information about Lao workers abroad for the purpose of formulating policies and laws in this regard.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has signed labour cooperation agreements with Thailand, Japan and South Korea, and is also planning to arrange for Lao nationals to take up jobs in Malaysia.

Dr Ko said “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare and the Lao government for giving BNK MFI such a great opportunity.”

“Through this partnership with the ministry, BNK MFI aims to provide reasonable financial services to Lao nationals wishing to work abroad and, furthermore, to provide various financial services to the people of Laos.”

“It is hoped that our agency will help promote employment for Lao workers so they can learn new skills and be a part of Laos’ economic development by bringing home income for their families and the country,” he added.

There are currently 97,799 Lao nationals working abroad through arrangements made with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare. A total of 51,728 people are known to be working in Thailand, 626 people in Japan, and 969 people in South Korea.

Laos is ranked seventh among Asean countries in terms of the number of citizens employed in Korea under the Employment Permit System. The top three are Vietnam with 55,795 workers, the Philippines with 26,217, and Indonesia with 24,732 workers.

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