Authorities in every province have been instructed to speed up the process, to comply with the relevant laws and regulations.
Officials must register foreign workers and issue them with a temporary work permit for every year they work in Laos, Dr Sonexay said.
He made the statement during a recent meeting to review the problem of undocumented foreign workers in Laos.
Prime Minister’s Order No. 62 requires foreign workers to register and provide proof of nationality.
Dr Sonexay acknowledged that many workers had now been registered and issued with temporary work permits, in an attempt to regulate the increasing number of undocumented migrant workers in the country.
He said all illegal foreign workers, who mainly come from Vietnam, China, and Thailand, should go to provincial labour and social welfare offices to register under the Labour Law.
The registration and regulation of foreign workers would help to reduce the number of public complaints about the proliferation of illegal migrant workers in Laos, Dr Sonexay said.
Some Vietnamese workers in particular remained unregistered because labour officials did not want to handle their cases out of concern that it might affect the special relationship between the two countries. This meant they were reluctant to enforce the law with regard to illegal Vietnamese workers.
But Dr Sonexay said all foreign workers must be strictly managed under the country’s laws.
Dr Sonexay said the purpose of the registration process was not to arrest or fine people but to provide undocumented workers with access to justice and ensure they received protection under the law.
All migrant workers have rights when it comes to negotiating their working conditions and these rights can be upheld by strengthening the legal mechanisms that govern workers’ status. Laos began registering migrant workers in 2012 to ensure social order and protect their rights in anticipation of the formation of the Asean Economic Community.
So far, over 42,000 foreign workers are registered in Laos, mainly from Vietnam, China and Thailand, and about 23,000 have provided proof of nationality.