Cambodian workers sent to South Korea totalled nearly 6,000 for the first seven months of the year, with most of them working in the agriculture and industrial sectors, according to data from the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
The report released last week, showed that 992 workers left for Korea in July itself, and entered jobs in construction and fishing operations, in addition to the above-mentioned sectors.
Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said yesterday that sending workers to South Korea would in the long-run benefit Cambodia’s economy as they will bring back skills and knowledge to their respective fields.
“We think that knowledge that workers brought back from Korea [in the industry] and will become attractive for investors come Cambodia who need a skilled workforce.
He expects that the workers will be sent to work in South Korea this year will reach 8,000 people.
He said South Korea was an attractive destination for foreign immigrant workers because of high salaries and good working conditions, that not only attracted Cambodians but workers from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines as well.
Srey Chanthy, an independent economic analyst, said that the sending of workers to abroad has both benefits and drawbacks.
“They have money to send to their family and if working in the industry, technology sectors, they had knowledge to use when they return; however, if the work did not involve any skilled labour then it is useless,” Chanthy said.
He said that in the long term it could be a disadvantage for Cambodia as it will not have enough skilled labour to support economic growth.
The data also showed that from 2007 to July 25, 2015 Cambodia had sent a total of 42,417 workers to South Korea. In 2014, the Kingdom sent around 7,600 people to work in South Korea.
Cambodia and South Korea have been increasing trade between the two countries with South Korean investors being among the top investors in the Kingdom, along with Japan, Malaysia and China.
An Amnesty International report last year criticised South Korea’s foreign employment system as exploitative, with the South Korean government dismissing the findings.