Remittances by Cambodian migrant workers in South Korea are growing every year and are increasingly sent through formal financial services.
Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, said an increasing number of migrant workers travel to South Korea each year, which has resulted in larger amounts of remittances. Ministry data show 7,371 Cambodians went to work in South Korea last year, raising the official total to 44,229 workers.
Sour estimated that these workers sent home $260 million last year, though the majority of this money was delivered by informal means.
“South Korea provides a high salary for workers and has a good reputation for respecting the rights of migrant workers, which creates a competition between countries looking to access the Korean labour market,” he said yesterday.
In Channy, president and group managing director of Acleda Bank, said Cambodian workers in South Korea sent home $37.2 million through the bank last year, an impressive 68 percent increase from the previous year. And he projected further growth.
“We have collaborated with many bank partners in South Korea to support Cambodians working there to send money back home,” he said.
“Remittances will increase this year as the number of Cambodian workers in South Korea is growing and it has become easier for them to use banking services.”
In 2015, Acleda signed an agreement with South Korean bank KEB Hana to establish a framework for cooperation across a range of banking services and facilitate Cambodian workers sending money home to their relatives.
Last June, Cambodian mobile money transfer company Wing also signed a deal with South Korean firm GmoneyTrans to tap into the growing demand for remittance transfers.
Kim Jong Moo, CEO of GmoneyTrans, said the new service was expected to launch in April. He estimated that less than 20 percent of Cambodians working in South Korea use banking services to send money home, and that a majority use more-costly informal channels such as friends or illegal agents.
“Our system is almost ready for operation and we hope that it will help workers to more easily and cheaply send money to their relatives in Cambodia,” he said.