Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Prak Sokhonn asked the Thai government to allow Cambodian migrant workers to return there to help reduce quarantine costs.
Sokhonn made the request via a video conference with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai on Friday.
The two discussed bilateral relations and cooperation and regional and global issues of common interest and concern.
“The Kingdom asked the Thais to allow Cambodian workers who hold border passes to return to work and reduce the cost of the 14-day quarantine,” Sokhonn said.
Sokhonn thanked the Thai authorities for the renewal of stay and work permits for Cambodians and for increasing unemployment and social benefits for those who had their jobs suspended.
He also noted Thailand’s investment flow into Cambodia has tripled in the first eight months of the year, compared to last year, and encouraged more Thai investment in Cambodia.
Both sides noted significant progress in other sectors such as security, education, tourism, and energy, said a press release.
It said the two sides are interested in increased cross-border trade, including Cambodian agricultural products, and expediting the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Goods in Transit.
Both sides said they were satisfied with the opening of new regional and international border checkpoints and the upgrading of existing regional checkpoints to international border checkpoints.
Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights executive-director Moeun Tola said Thailand is still closed and jobs are not yet stable.
That is why Cambodian migrant workers continue returning to Cambodia, Tola said.
“So, if what our Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested from the Thai side is successful, it is good. But we are not optimistic because the Thai side doesn’t need workers. If and when they do, Cambodian workers need jobs,” he said.
Tola said approximately 120,000 Cambodian migrant workers had returned from Thailand. The number of such workers in Thailand is estimated at more than one million.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the two countries need each other.
“Thailand has a shortage of workers so it needs the Cambodian workforce,” he said.