The Lao government has approved a measure allowing overseas Laotians to stay up to 9 months on a single entry visa. The measure now goes before the Lao National Assembly for final approval.
Mr. Khenthong Nouanthasing, spokesperson for the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has confirmed that his government has officially adopted a draft measure to strengthen cooperation between the Lao government and Lao expatriates in the development of the country, and this measure will enter into effect once it is approved by the Lao National Assembly at the 9th session of its 6th Legislature, which will take place in the next three months.
One of the key aspects of the measure, which the Lao government believes will help attract more Lao natives living abroad to go back to their homeland, is the extension of the length of their stay under a tourist visa beyond the current 30 days to 9 months, so that they can have ample time to decide whether to invest or do business in Laos.
Also included in this new policy are provisions that aim to accommodate other needs of Lao expatriates who return home, such as granting the rights to use and own land, buildings, and other types of properties to those who invest more than US$ 500,000 in Laos.
The measure will also make it easier for overseas Laotians who wish to marry Lao nationals to get approval for such marriage, as they will receive special consideration from the government, compared to other groups of foreign nationals.
In December 2009, Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh received, at his new office next to the Victory Monument in Vientiane, a group of Lao expatriates from the U.S., Belgium, Germany, France, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and Japan, who traveled to Vientiane to attend the 25th SEA Games that took place December 9-18, 2009. During the meeting, the Prime Minister emphasized that the Lao government does not consider past conflicts to be the basis of rules for development for a better future of the country. Instead, his government wants to see Lao people from all walks of life, both inside and outside of the country, join hands and contribute their knowledge and utmost ability to develop the motherland.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on 27 January, 2010. Listen to his report for more details in Lao, or read our Lao text.