October 12, 2017

Lao government clamps down on foreigners’ illegal business activities

By:  Vientiane Times, October 9, 2017

ATTAPEU, Laos - Attapeu province has taken steps to tackle the problems surrounding alien workers and foreigners who run businesses illegally and flout the regulations concerning land use rights.

It has been found that aliens and foreigners are buying land illegally from local people and building houses on the land. They are also operating businesses illegally, in some cases assisted by officials, which has led to further illegal activities and  crime.

The provincial governor recently issued an order instructing every district in the province to address this problem by requiring aliens and foreigners to invest at least one billion kip in a business and to have a stable business foundation.

They should also have a visa, rental permit and business registration, and must pay taxes. The authorities will determine where they can sell their goods, either at markets or at certain shops.

Aliens or foreigners who initially invest only 250 million kip must enter into a contract which binds them to increasing the amount invested until they reach one billion kip. This must happen within one year of signing the contract.

Those who cannot provide the full one billion kip within one year will have to stop their business and return to their country of origin. Aliens and foreigners who have less than 250 million kip to invest cannot run a business and must return home within 30 days.

Foreigners who have good skills and no infectious diseases must obtain a visa and work and rental permits from the authorities, following which they will be advised, monitored and regulated by district authorities.

Aliens and foreigners will not be allowed to use land unless they rent it or obtain a concession for its use.

If the authorities find that land has been sold, or the management of land or house use rights has been transferred to a foreign national, but the property is owned by a Lao national, the authorities will prosecute the offenders.

Lao nationals who allow foreigners to rent their land must pay taxes. Those who illegally sell land or a house to a foreigner will forfeit their land or house title and their property will be transferred to government ownership.

Officials must not accept bribes from investors. If this rule is violated, offenders will be prosecuted under the law.

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