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Labour ministry backs PROMISE

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Labour minister Ith Samheng meets with Nenette Motus, IOM regional director for Asia and the Pacific, and IOM delegation over support for migrant workers, on Monday. LABOUR MINISTRY

Labour ministry backs PROMISE

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has agreed to continue its cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) after their “poverty reduction though safe migration” project was deemed successful.

The project – Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE) – began in September 2017 and completed its first phase in August 2021. The ministry said they will implement the second phase of the project.

IOM regional director for Asia and the Pacific Nenette Motus and IOM chief of mission in Cambodia Kristin Parco met with labour minister Ith Samheng seeking support for phase two of the PROMISE project. Phase two is scheduled to run from September 2021 until August 2025.

At the April 25 meeting, Samheng agreed to support the second phase and thanked the IOM for playing an important role in dealing with migration issues. He said they are an indispensable partner in the Asia-Pacific region and Cambodia.

He said that workers could not cross borders and were sometimes trapped in foreign countries, especially over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IOM had worked hard to solve these problems.

The minister also requested that the IOM work more with the ministry on assistance projects to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus among migrant workers and to support the implementation of the mobile social security scheme for migrant workers that was discussed by the labour ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in 2019.

Motus said the PROMISE project was a regional programme implemented under the leadership of the IOM with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

As Cambodia was to host this year’s ASEAN Summit, she intended to provide technical support and documentation – when the agenda concerned the Migrant Workers’ Meeting and migration policy in Cambodia.

Khun Tharo, programme manager for the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL), said some arguments showed a shift in the economic factors of workers who went to work abroad. He wanted to see the Cambodian government introduce a clear inspection mechanism for migrant-worker-receiving countries, to ensure the promotion of their rights and protection of their welfare.

“It is important that the implementation of a single policy framework must have a response mechanism in case of labour exploitation,” he said.

Tharo requested that the government cooperate with Thai authorities to speed up the legalisation of Cambodian workers. He considered it a priority, as many Cambodians worked illegally in Thailand.

Samheng said at the meeting that he wanted to see the PROMISE guidelines to migration policy become a national policy – with the government approval – and that Cambodia would need the support of the IOM and other partners to strengthen the policy and guarantee the safety of migrant workers.

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