Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants to Korea jump

Migrants to Korea jump

Migrants to Korea jump

120710_07

The snow-covered pavilions at Gyeongbok Palace in central Seoul. Photograph: AFP PHOTO / Kim Jae-Myung

More Cambodian migrant workers headed to South Korea in the first half of this year than in all of 2011, data from the Ministry of Labour shows.

A suspension on Vietnamese migration, coupled with an improving Korean economy, primarily accounted for the jump, officials say.

More than 6,300 Cambodians migrated to the East Asian nation between January and June, against 4,957 for all of 2011.

“This year, we notice the agriculture sector has absorbed [Cambodians] very well,” Heng Sour, chief of overseas manpower at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said. “If there wasn’t an increase in the [agriculture] sector, the number of our workers would have been the same as during the last period. The ban on Vietnamese also helped the increase.”

Cambodians were eager to work abroad for potentially higher salaries, Ya Navuth, executive director at Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility (CARAM), said yesterday.

Working conditions in South Korea had gained recognition for being better than some of the destinations Cambodian migrants flocked to, such as Malaysia, he said.

“If there are enough jobs, people will go abroad to work – no question about it. Although there are more domestic jobs, many people don’t know about them. Low salaries here are also pushing them abroad to work," he said. “I never get complaints from Cambodians who go to work in Korea, compared with those who work in Thailand and Malaysia.”

Reports of abuse, death and the use of under-age Cambodians in Malaysia have rocked that country’s reputation as a place for migrants to safely earn higher wages.

Cambodia first sent workers to South Korea in 2002 and signed a memorandum of understanding on migrant exchange in 2007.

Cambodian migrants go to Korea under government-to-government deals. Unlike Malaysia, South Korea does not allow private companies to recruit labour.

There could soon be a slow-down in the number of Cambodia’s heading north, Heng Sour said.

The ban on Vietnamese workers was recently lifted and would cut into the Kingdom’s labour exports, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Thy Sovantha threatens new suit

    Social media celebrity and card-carrying CPP member Thy Sovantha yesterday said she will file a lawsuit against wildlife NGO head Suwanna Gauntlett alleging discrimination after the latter allegedly denied her access to an ecotourism program the group is launching today in Koh Kong province. The

  • Police raid Siem Reap party, arrest 10 foreigners over ‘pornographic’ images

    A group of 10 foreign tourists appeared in court today after being arrested for producing “pornographic” photos in Siem Reap town on Thursday, while dozens more were detained temporarily and let go after being lectured on their behaviour, according to authorities. A report posted to the

  • Hun Sen’s in-law removed from RCAF after cockfighting rings raided

    Thai Phany, the nephew-in-law of Prime Minister Hun Sen who is accused of running two large cockfighting rings, has been removed as a general in the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces. Phany, formerly a one-star brigadier general, was removed by royal decree on December 19, according to

  • Government approves plan to relocate Phnom Penh’s airport

    The government has signed off on a proposal to build a new airport to serve Phnom Penh and has earmarked land in Kandal province for the $1.5 billion project. A new international airport to replace the existing Phnom Penh International Airport will be constructed on partially