Minister of Labour Ith Samheng yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with his Japanese counterparts to make it easier for Cambodian trainees to find work in Japan.
On his visit to Japan, Mr Samheng signed the deal that will now allow Cambodian trainees to receive technical training in Japan, rather than having to first prove expertise and experience in their field before leaving Cambodia.
“The new system will make it easy for Cambodian trainees to come to work in Japan,” he said. “The trainee will not need experience for their sector in their own country first. They can now be recruited and then trained in Japan. It’s not as strict as before.” Mr Samheng added that there are currently 5,000 Cambodian trainees in Japan, within the agriculture, construction, and industrial sectors.
Mouen Tola, executive director of rights group Central, noted the particular semantics used by Mr Samheng, who made sure to call the workers trainees in his public appearance.
Mr Tola said the two countries do not yet have an agreement for Cambodia to send migrant workers to Japan. Rather, workers are sent there as trainees and are paid as workers.
“In some cases, we are afraid that these Cambodian ‘trainees’ in Japan are being mistreated,” he said. “They work as workers, but get a lower income because they are considered ‘trainees’.”