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Ministry Tells Interns in Japan to Behave

Tin Sokhavuth / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

Cambodian interns working in Japan on the Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) must not run away from their employer or seek work with a firm different to the one they are contracted with, the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training said in a statement last week.
The ministry said some unscrupulous local employers have attempted to lure Cambodian workers away from their jobs with promises of better pay and legal working status in Japan.
However, the ministry noted that such an act was illegal under both Cambodian and Japanese law.
“This running away will make interns illegal aliens, they will lose money from the broker, they will face arrest, they will lose the opportunity to make money and their family will face lawsuits for breaking the contract. The worst thing is the country will lose out in Japan’s labor market,” read the statement.
The US State Department’s 2015 “Trafficking in Persons Report” noted that exploitation had been reported against interns enrolled in TITP. It also said that the purpose of the program – to teach migrant workers technical skills – was not being followed.
“Some of these workers continued to experience conditions of forced labor. Reports continue of excessive fees, deposits and ‘punishment’ contracts by sending organizations under this program,” the report said.
The ministry’s statement last Thursday came days after Cambodian interns had to be repatriated after complaining about their working conditions, blaming employment brokers for miss-representing the scheme to interns.
While the statement stressed that Cambodian interns must remain with their contracted employers, it did add that in the case of workplace incidents, interns should contact the embassy via phone or Facebook.
It also urged agencies recruiting Cambodian workers to ensure that they were fully aware of the requirements of working in Japan and that suitable management and counseling be provided.
“In case any intern student runs away, the agency concerned must report to the authorities and related institutions in Japan, especially the Cambodian embassy in Japan. After that, the agency must inform the intern student’s family about the incident in the presence of local authorities as witnesses.
“Lastly, the agency must also report the incident to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.”
Touch Pattpya, assistance manager at C-Pro Company, told Khmer Times that his company has recruited many Cambodian workers to send to Japan.
He said that for many, once their visa and work permit had expired, they still wanted to stay, becoming illegal workers.
To address the issue, he said his company now required five family members to co-sign the contract, making them liable if the intern did not return.

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