Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian workers set to enter Kuwait's labour force this year

Cambodian workers set to enter Kuwait's labour force this year

Cambodian workers set to enter Kuwait's labour force this year

MIGRANT workers from the Kingdom could join Kuwait’s labour market by the end of the year, according to the Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies’ president An Bun Hak.

The move would mark the completion of a memorandum of understanding (MoU), originally discussed by both governments in 2008, to send migrant workers to the Middle East.

Nhem Kimhouy, a labour official at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said Tuesday that the government and the King approved the MoU in January this year.

The ministry, he said, is currently drafting a letter to the Kuwaiti government, to be sent through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which would pave the way for the opening of the Kuwaiti labour market to Cambodians.

“When [Kuwaiti officials] receive the letter their government will allow a technical group to have a talk with [ministry’s] technical group.

“They will prepare regulations which follow all the terms and conditions detailed in the MoU,” he said.

It will contribute to reducing unemployment and poverty and help our economic growth."

“It is good opportunity for our labour force. It will contribute to reducing unemployment and poverty and help our economic growth,” he added.
An Bun Hak said he believes the Kuwait job market can absorb around 10,000 Cambodian workers per year in sectors such as services, tourism, construction and extraction. He estimated that migrants could earn fixed salaries of between US$200 and $300 per month.

“But our first priority is protection of worker’s safety and rights,” he said, highlighting the need for prospective employees to be free to worship in their own way.

Orders from Kuwaiti companies for labour have already been made, he said, but he has yet to recruit workers to supply them.

“We have to select well-known companies to minimise labour exploitation as much as possible,” he said.

An Bun Hak is also waiting to speak to the labour delegation from Kuwait.

“Afterwards, around the fourth quarter of this year, we can send our labour there,” he said.

The association president added that the delay in progressing with the initial employment deal was in part due to the impact of the global financial crisis, which reduced Kuwait’s demand for workers from abroad.

He also confirmed that he has received a green light from the Labour Ministry for labour delivery to the United Arab Emirates, which he expects to take place later this year.

Last year, Cambodia sent 9,682 workers to Malaysia, 1,687 to South Korea and more than 10,000 to Thailand.

Cambodian migrant workers sent home about $353 million in remittances in 2008, according to a report produced by the UN Development Programme.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koy Kuong said Tuesday that he has yet to receive a letter from Labour Ministry.

But he confirmed that both governments had already endorsed the MoU on labour delivery.

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