Friday, June 25, 2010

Cambodia Takes Measures to Solve Cambodian Migrant Workers

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The flow of migrant workers from Cambodia to Thailand has increased sharply in recent times. As of early 2010, it is estimated that there are at least 250,000 registered and unregistered Cambodian migrants cross the borders using regular channels. This has created more concerns for the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Men Sam On, said that the flow of Cambodian labor migrant workers from Cambodia to Thailand is high a concern of the Royal Government. They migrate with very little information about work prospects, living conditions, and the risk involved.

To resolve this problem, the government now is working very hard in educating, providing the training skills and generating the jobs for the people in Cambodia, adding that the government has issued the measures and policies towards the protection and coordination of the Cambodian migrant workers to work abroad.

Her Excellency Men Sam On said the government through the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor and Vocational Training has prepared the policies for sending the Cambodian workers to legally work abroad and has cooperated with involved countries.

She added that at the same time, the government has also issued the additional measures to reduce the labor migrants in finding risky jobs to work abroad and encourage the sending of Cambodian workers to work in foreign countries legally.

“In the framework of Cambodia’s employments, the Government of Cambodia has encouraged and promoted the local and international investments to do their businesses in order that they can generate jobs for our people in Cambodia,” she said. “The government has also allowed the establishment of private companies in recruiting Cambodian workers and sending to work legally in a number of foreign countries such Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Korea,” she added.

In order to facilitate and reduce the expenditure of the worker’s oversea traveling, the government has also issued a sub-decree dated 20th November 2008 on “Providing of Normal Passport for Cambodian workers” which allow them to spend a total of US$ 24 for the passport will be made within 28 days, she emphasized

She said that to ensure the workers’ rights, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor and Vocational Training has established a total of 36 vocational training centers including short term and long term professional skills trainings for middle schools and higher education schools in 22 cities and provinces in Cambodia. It has also created a total of 7 professional disable training centers within about 10,000 disabled people are studying every day in Cambodia. Currently, over 3,000 disabled people have generated their own businesses and working with a number of private companies in Cambodia.

“For labor migration, if we can govern it well both employees and employers and the sending countries and receiving countries will receive a lot of benefits, but if there is no well management, many labor migrants will become the victims of all types of human trafficking and labor exploitations,” she said.

She called on Cambodian people to find job opportunities in Cambodia and not to migrate illegally to Thailand because they are very risky with their work safety, human trafficking and labor exploitations.

Chu Bun Eng, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Interior, and he is also Executive Director of the Cambodian Women for Peace and Development (CWPD) and PROMDAN Project Manager, said that Cambodian migrant workers contributed to the Thai economy by expanding the contribution of labor-intensive sectors to the country’s gross domestic products (GDP), while the lower cost of labor makes Thai export more competitive; worker remittances support households back in Cambodia; benefits are generated at high human cost to migrant workers and their family members, for example depts., poor health, disability, family breakdown, and single parenthood.

To help and rescue Cambodian migrant workers from all kinds of human trafficking and labor exploitations, in 2001-2010, non-governmental organization (NGOs) in Cambodia and Thailand worked together on a project called “PROMDAN”, which promoted informed and safer migration of Cambodians to Thailand as well as making health and a number of legal support services available to Cambodian workers, she noted.

She stated that “PROMDAN” Project activities focused in Prey Veng and Kampong Cham provinces and Rayong province in Thailand. The key outcomes and lessons were as follow: pre-migration education resulted in informed and planned migrations; returned migrants reported more successful migration experiences; collaboration between NGOs and health authorities in Cambodia and Thailand resulted increased understanding and access to essential health services among migrants; improving the livelihoods and the access to rights of a high number of migrants which will require system-level changes in the management of labor migrant; relevant government entities in Cambodia and Thailand will need to work together to benefit the people and the economies and the two countries.

In 2003, Cambodia and Thailand signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to regulate labor migration from Cambodia. Cambodian authorities were also invited to conduct a nationality verification of those relations already in the country.

The implementation of the MOU began in 2006, when Cambodia started to respond through authorized private recruitment agencies. However, the streams of undocumented migrants continue. High costs, a long waiting time and a mismatch between job, skills and salary expectation all make irregular channels cheaper and faster for migrant workers. //

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