South Korea wants 4,000 Cambodian migrant workers to join their compatriots in the country, most of which will enter the service industry.
Labour Minister Ith Samheng said on Friday after a meeting with South Korean Ambassador Oh Nak-young that South Korea requested 4,000 workers be sent there in 2018.
“Mr Oh Nak-young told me that this year Korea will provide similar quotas for our workers as last year, when more than 4,000 workers went to work in South Korea within the industrial sector,” he said.
Mr Samheng said he also discussed procedures for sending workers to the country during his meeting, noting that the goal was to fast-track labourers hoping to land jobs there.
“I think we have good cooperation with each other,” he said. “However, recently South Korea allowed workers from Laos to work in the country, but we are not worried about this; it does not affect the quota for our country.”
During the meeting, the minister also suggested that South Korea find more work for the labourers within the service industry.
According to Mr Samheng, there are about 54,000 Cambodians currently working in South Korea.
The Ministry of Labour issued its annual report last week, noting that Cambodia sent 96,338 labourers to work abroad last year, an increase of 12.6 percent over the 85,576 workers in 2016.
“The seven countries Cambodian workers have been working in include Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and South Korea,” the report said.
The report added that Thailand received 87,909 of the workers, while South Korea received 5,967, Japan 2,280, Singapore 138, Malaysia 27, Saudi Arabia 12 and Hong Kong five.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said late last year that South Korea admired Cambodians as quality workers.
“I met the South Korean ambassador to Cambodia and we got new information that South Korea considers Cambodian workers to have high standards, high discipline, respect and high professionalism,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Cambodian workers in South Korea earn about $1,200 to $1,300 per month in the agriculture sector. In the industrial sector, they earn about $1,700 to $1,800.
Annually, workers in South Korea send about $300 million back to their families in Cambodia.