More than 15,000 legal Cambodian migrant workers have entered Thailand for work in the first five months of this year, with the number likely to increase after the neighbouring country relaxed procedures as the Covid-19 situation eases.
An Bun Hak, president of the Manpower Association of Cambodia (MAC), told The Post on June 6 that the workers have been sent via recruitment agencies licensed by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
Most of them worked in agriculture, food factories, machine industries and services, and could earn between $500 to $600 depending on the nature of the work and overtime, he noted.
Bun Hak said the numbers would keep increasing with the border having reopened and Thailand easing the procedure for Cambodian workers.
“The procedure for sending migrant workers seems to have returned to normal, as prior to Covid-19. To work in Thailand now, Cambodian workers only need to apply for a Thailand Pass – with employers registered as payers of their workers’ insurance premiums – and hold a vaccination card.
“The vaccination card is not a problem for Cambodian workers anymore as around 93 per cent of our people have been vaccinated, and so the Thai side seem to have almost 100 per cent confidence in our workers as they can see the situation in our country,” he said.
He added that migrant workers going to Thailand who were not skilled workers would have to wait around one month to be processed, and would need a day’s training ahead of travelling on issues such as working conditions and contracts.
The training from labour ministry officials covered topics such as contracts in Thailand, responsibilities, work accidents and dispute procedures, as well as instructing them to fully follow all the laws, he said.
Bun Hak said unskilled Cambodians worker are also encouraged to learn all they could from their experience in Thailand and save some money to improve their situation on their return home.
“We do not want them to be migrant workers for the rest of their life, so if they save some money while working in Thailand, once they return they can start their own business or utilise whatever they have learned in Thailand in modern agriculture,” he said.
Bun Hak said Cambodian migrant workers who went to work in Thailand via the mechanisms between both governments and international organisations, particularly regarding insurance, had better experiences so they are urged to travel legally.
Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL), said the reason workers still decided to go to work in Thailand was because they got higher wages, with a wider labour market than in Cambodia.
According to the labour ministry, Cambodia currently has 1,220,197 migrants working in Thailand in construction, agriculture, fisheries and food factories.