Lao border officials upgrade English skills
A group of 18 immigration and customs officers are the latest beneficiaries of Australia’s long-standing border management programs in the Lao PDR.
To enhance the English capacity of frontline immigration officials, Australia offered English Language Training programs at Vientiane College to 18 officers from the Lao Department of Immigration and Lao Customs Department. Places in more advanced English courses will be available to officials who achieved high standards in these courses.
Chargé d’affairs a.i. at the Australian Embassy, Andreas Zurbrugg, was on hand to present certificates to the officials on 8 April, following their completion of the lower elementary (150 hours) and upper elementary (75 hours) English courses, that began in January.
The English language courses, strengthening an important skill for frontline border management officials, are part of a broader program of bilateral Australian Government assistance to build the Lao PDR’s border management systems and capability.
Mr Zurbrugg said Australian assistance in immigration in Laos, dating back more than 20 years, included work to strengthen the technical skills of border security officers, as well as to improve the border management systems needed to effectively track and record the movement of people in and out of the country.
“In a region where cross-border movement is becoming easier, with greater integration of markets and people across South-East Asia, Laos needs immigration and customs officials and systems of the highest calibre,” Mr Zurbrugg said. “The challenges associated with the illicit movement of people and goods will increase as Laos furthers its integration with the ASEAN Economic Community. Good quality English skills are essential for immigration and customs staff to respond effectively to these challenges”
These English courses are part of an ongoing annual Australian-funded program, which has been expanded further in 2016. In recent years, Australia has conducted skills training for Lao immigration officials in facial image comparison and fraud detection, information analysis, as well as desktop exercises to test and strengthen Laos’ capacity to deal with major threats at its borders. Australian experts are also supporting the Lao Department of Immigration to develop a whole-of-government border management strategy, to help prioritise and deliver long-term improvements in Laos’ capacity to manage the movement of goods and people across its extensive borders.
For further information, or queries please contact:
Khounkham Douangphachone, Media and Communications Officer
Email: Khounkham.Douangphachone@dfat.gov.au or mobile: +856 20 2223 8299