Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng said the government has striven to strengthen cooperation with partner countries to provide more overseas employment opportunities to Cambodian workers. At present, about 1.3 million workers send almost $3 billion a year in remittances to their families.

Samheng was addressing more than 3,700 managers and department heads from 384 factories and manufacturing enterprises in the capital on May 14.

“Along with domestic job opportunities, the government strives to find employment overseas. The approximately 1.3 million people who currently work abroad send about $2.7 billion per year to their families. This is a large contribution to the Kingdom’s development,” he said.

He added that the textile-linked sectors, including garments, footwear and travel goods, currently employs more than 850,000 workers in 1,325 factories, and exported more than $12.8 billion worth of goods last year, making Cambodia one of the leading exporters of garments to international markets.

Samheng said the implementation of trade union laws promotes the freedom of professional organisations, with a total of 6,064 registraters in the first three months of this year. This includes 5,741 local unions, 268 federated unions, 42 confederation unions and 13 employers’ associations.

He also explained that the government has prepared a vocational training plan for 1.5 million young people from poor and vulnerable households across the country, with the state guaranteeing cash subsidies for trainees from this year onwards. The plan is aimed to providing them with the opportunity to develop skills that will help them find employment or create their own businesses, as well as develop a skilled workforce that can meet the demands of new investment in Cambodia.

According to the labour minister, 17,102 enterprises and economic institutions are registered with the ministry, employing 1.5 million people and earning an average of more than $4.55 billion a year. More than two million additional people benefit indirectly from this sector.

He noted that during the Covid-19 crisis, Prime Minister Hun Sen introduced measures that protected people’s abilities to maintain stable, productive lives, and enabled many factories and enterprises to weather the storm.

Last month, Samheng declared that Cambodian migrant workers were ranked as some of the hardest working in South Korea.

“The South Korean government has promised to increase the number of contracts it will offer to Cambodian workers by 10,000 or more, which is great news for the Kingdom,” he added.