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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More licences sought for overseas recruiting

More licences sought for overseas recruiting

More licences sought for overseas recruiting

THE head of Cambodia’s recruitment agency association has called on the government to license more agents following calls for 50,000 workers for Malaysia’s garment and electronic factories.

Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies (ACRA) Director An Bun Hak said the three official agencies in the country have been given one year to find the workers.

Requests for workers began coming in around July as factories in Malaysia began cranking up production, An Bun Hak said Friday. By September, agencies were trying to fill calls for 35,000 workers. As of Friday, that number had swelled to 50,000, he added.

“With the global crisis getting better, we received a lot of requests,” he said. “They came to us because Cambodian workers are well regarded by Malaysian employment agencies because they obey labour laws, are disciplined in the workplace and are very patient when it comes to working in a production job,” he said.

Malaysian employers were also increasingly turning to workers from the Kingdom instead of Indonesia, he added. Association figures show 3,922 Cambodians travelled to Malaysia for work in the first nine months of 2009, already more than the 2,654 sent last year. By comparison, 2,116 went to Thailand last year, and just 937 in the first nine months of this year. Migrant workers in Malaysia and Thailand remitted around US$200 million last year, according to agency figures.

An Bun Hak said Cambodia has three private recruitment agencies and was in danger of not being able to fill the order. The association has asked Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training to step in and license more agencies, he said.

Nhem Kimhouy, a ministry official, said the request had been passed to the government for approval. “It’s important … to help people find work, especially during the current crisis in which a lot of garment workers have lost jobs,” he said.

Ministry figures show that 77 garment factories closed during the first three quarters of the year, resulting in the loss of 30,683 jobs. A further 53 suspended operations, affecting an additional 30,617 workers. However, 40 factories opened during the period, creating work for 9,605 people.

Nhem Kimhouy said recruitment agencies need to register with the ministry and deposit $100,000 at the central bank.

An Bun Hak said the association was screening the factories that were requesting workers to ensure they could find good working conditions in Malaysia. “Because we got a lot of requests, we will select the well-known factory owners for our workers first, especially the owners from Japan or the USA,” he said.

Workers selected to travel to Malaysia will sign a three-year-contract paying between $250 and $350 per month, An Bun Hak said.

The UN Development Programme said in its most recent quality of life index that Cambodian migrant workers send around $353 million home from their work abroad every year.

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