Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrant remittances total $2.8B last year

Migrant remittances total $2.8B last year

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Cambodians working abroad regularly sent home large remittances because of the high wages possible. Workers also reported gaining valuable skills and knowledge during thier time away. Heng Chivoan

Migrant remittances total $2.8B last year

Cambodia migrant workers last year sent $2.8 billion back home in remittances, according to the latest report by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.

Speaking at an annual gathering last week, Minister Ith Sam Heng said the ministry continues to manage the employment and labour markets, which comprise of around 10 million workers. Of those, around 1.28 million are working abroad.

“This means that about 99.3 per cent of the population is employed,” he said.

Srun Theareach, a Cambodian working in a factory in Japan, told The Post on Sunday that he sent his family in Stung Treng province around $500 a month.

The 32-year-old migrant says he has been working in Japan for more than two years, earning about $1,300 a month. “Due to the money I sent home, my family, who are farmers, enjoy a better life and have been able to expand our house.

“Living in Japan has allowed me to develop important skills, and I will bring this knowledge back to my hometown when my stay here ends,” he said.

According to the report, the ministry dispatched 68,040 Cambodian workers abroad through private and state agencies last year, mostly to Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

President and CEO of Acleda Bank In Channy said most migrants in South Korea use his bank to send money back home.

“Often, families would use the money sent to them to create or expand a small business,” he said.

Royal Academy of Cambodia researcher Hong Vanak said most Cambodian migrants returned home with new knowledge and skills.

“Most Cambodian migrants in South Korea and Japan earn a high salary. They send a lot of that money back home so that the families can renovate the home or build a new one. Some use the money to expand their businesses,” he said.

According to a report from the National Bank of Cambodia, in 2018, Cambodian migrants sent home about $1.4 billion in remittances. About $53 million came from South Korea.

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