Labour Minister Ith Samheng on Wednesday told a representative of the International Organisation for Migration that the government has successfully legalised almost all Cambodians working overseas and made their situation safer.
The minister said the government has always prioritised finding a solution to the migration problems faced by Cambodians overseas.
Mr Samheng met with Nenette Motus, IOM’s regional director for Asia and the Pacific, on Wednesday at the Ministry of Labour in Phnom Penh, where ministry officials discussed IOM’s work in the Kingdom and Southeast Asia, as well as cooperation plans.
“We highly appreciate the IOM, who has assisted migrant workers in many countries. Cambodia has benefited from its cooperation, and the country’s migration policy has been quite successful as a result,” Mr Samheng said. “We had difficulties in the beginning, but now it is possible to say that workers abroad are almost 100 percent legal and safe.”
“We have always protected them during their work overseas,” he added.
Mr Samheng said migration problems persist, but the government continues to cooperate with relevant partners to address them.
“Cambodia has been paying a lot of attention to the migration issue since the beginning when the workers were facing difficulties. Now, some of these issues have turned into opportunities,” Mr Samheng said.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Labour, Ms Motus touched on some issues related to the cooperation between the Labour Ministry and IOM.
Other topics brought forward by Ms Motus include IOM’s goals until 2030, labour management and workers’ families.
Hou Vudthy, an undersecretary of state at the ministry, said the government has helped legalised more than one million Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand.
“They left to work illegally in Thailand in the 2000s. We have facilitated the process for them to become legal workers there,” Mr Vudthy said.
He said Cambodia is working with four other countries – Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – to provide social security benefits to migrant workers from these countries in the Kingdom.
“We all agreed to continue working together until we reach our goals in 2021,” Mr Vudthy noted.
“We have asked IOM to urge Thailand, the country where most Cambodian workers overseas reside, to cooperate with other countries so migrant workers can enjoy social security benefits.”
According to the ministry, the government helped create 4.8 million jobs last year, 3.6 million in the Kingdom and more than one million overseas. Most Cambodian migrant workers go to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.