Lao officials reaffirm their government’s policy to welcome and solicit overseas Laotians to go back and help develop the country, adding that they are also ready to grant Lao citizenship to those who renounce their current nationality.
During an interview with VOA Bangkok stringer, Laos’ Ambassador to Thailand Ouane Phommachack confirmed that his government has had a policy to welcome Laotians from overseas to help develop the country for over 30 years, but it had not been publicly acknowledged until now.
Neverthless, the pursuance of this policy continually has resulted in the flow of overseas Laotians returning to Laos for different purposes, including going back to visit relatives, to invest, and to help the Lao government in various capacities as well as to live there permanently. However, those who wish to regain their Lao nationality, they must renounce their current citizenship, because Lao laws stipulate that all Lao nationals cannot hold dual nationality.
According to Ambassador Phommachack, regardless of his/her nationality and objectives, every overseas Laotian who wishes to return to Laos will receive support from his government as long as his/her activities in Laos conform with Laos’ laws and regulations.
At the seventh session of the Lao National Assembly's Sixth Legislature last month, a new draft law proposed by the Lao Front for National Construction was adopted to encourage overseas Laotians who want to return home to take part in the national development.
The enactment of this legislation, aimed at galvanizing unity and reconciliation among Lao people from all walks of life, both in and out of the country, and in particular to mobilize contributions of overseas Laotians to the national building and development, is necessary to respond to the rapidly-changing global environment.
Upon officially taking effect, the new law would authorize the Lao Front for National Construction to take a key role in considering granting nationality to overseas Laotians who want to return home permanently.
Vientiane's latest attempt to woo overseas Laotians back home follows a successful model employed by its Vietnamese ally in encouraging overseas Vietnamese or Vietnamese diasporas to go back and help contribute to the national development.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao from Bangkok on August 26, 2009. (English translation by Buasawan Simmala.)