Khmer Rise Party president Soksovann Vatanasabung during a Supreme Consultative Council meeting yesterday criticised the Labour Ministry for not doing enough to prevent workers from migrating overseas.
The meeting was held with Labour Minister Ith Samheng at the Peace Palace and it focused on the issue of abused migrant workers.
Mr Vatanasabung, a member of the SCC, said vocational training ensures jobs and thus workers will be more willing to work in the Kingdom.
“We urged the Labour Ministry to disseminate job opportunities inside the country because many still prefer working here rather than migrating overseas,” Mr Vatanasabung said.
He noted that the KRP provided a list of recommendations to the ministry, including the strengthening of the dissemination of job vacancies.
“When there are many people who have migrated overseas, it will impact domestic labour,” Mr Vatanasabung said.
According to a Labour Ministry report, 4.8 million job opportunities were created by the government last year.
In March, Mr Samheng said 99.3 percent of Cambodians have jobs, and that there were 1.2 million Cambodian migrant workers overseas.
“They are working in Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Hong Kong,” he said. “The governments of Cambodia and Thailand have successfully launched a campaign to support Cambodian workers in Thailand on June 30, 2018.”
Mr Samheng said 49,099 Cambodian workers working in South Korea earn about $1,200 per month, 9,100 workers in Japan earn $1,500 per month, while 30,113 workers in Malaysia earn about $300.
“Every year, our workers send back more than $2.3 billion to their families, and those who return with professional skills contribute to the development of the country,” he said. “Workers overseas also receive legal support and are repatriated if they face problems.”
However, there are many others who cross the border in search of a better life.
In February, Thailand deported 44 migrant workers who were denied entry in two bordering provinces.
In January, Thai authorities arrested 11 Cambodian students during a raid on a pondok, or Muslim religious school in Pattani province’s Ma-Yor district. Nine of them were living in Thailand with expired passports and one had no identification documents.
Dy Thehoya, programme officer with the rights group Central, said many migrants cross illegally to work in Thailand because processing travel documents is expensive and it takes a long time.
He said that the government must go to communes to explain to job seekers that migrating to another country has its own risks.
“The government has to create a mechanism allowing experts to offer consultation to people in communes to explain what is risky and what is advantageous in working overseas,” Mr Thehoya said, noting that the government has to create a committee to monitor implemented labour agreements with other countries.