The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s Committee for Training and Sending Workers Abroad announced to recruit and train 1,500 workers for agriculture and animal husbandry positions in South Korea this year.

According to a January 17 announcement, the workers will, among other things, plant tomatoes, chillies, apples, grapes and pears, and manage cows, pigs and chickens. The first 500 workers will depart in March, with the final 1,000 joining them in August.

The ministry said the programme is being run under South Korea’s Foreign Seasonal Workers Programme, which complements the Employment Permit System (EPS).

Under the programme, seasonal workers can be employed for five months at a time. When they return to the Kingdom, they will be given priority for job openings in different cities or districts. One worker may work up to ten months in a year.

Priority is given to those who speak the Korean language and have passed the EPS-TOPIK Korean Language Proficiency Test.

Before departure, workers should apply to the EPS-TOPIK language testing centre. Those who fail will be permitted to depart, but will be expected to improve their Korean language proficiency while abroad. Once South Korea’s Human Resource Development Unit sets a date for the next round of examinations, they will be required to return to the Kingdom and re-sit the exam.

The Post was unable to contact Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Chring Botum Rangsay for comment.

Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour did not respond to enquiries about the number of Cambodians currently working in South Korea, but according to the most recent available figures, 45,866 Cambodians were recorded as employed in South Korea in May 2021.