Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Migrants to Korea to see testing shake-up

Migrants to Korea to see testing shake-up

Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche speaks to newly arrived Cambodian workers in South Korea earlier this month.
Cambodian ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche speaks to newly arrived Cambodian workers in South Korea earlier this month. Facebook.

Migrants to Korea to see testing shake-up

Cambodians who work in South Korea will no longer have access to an expedited procedure to go back to South Korea once their contracts expire and they have to return to Cambodia, according to an announcement from the Ministry of Labour on Saturday.

Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRD-Korea) has temporarily suspended a special Korean language test for migrant workers from 15 countries to reduce the number of re-entries, the announcement said.

Before entering South Korea, workers have to take a language test. The special test for those with work experience in South Korea was held four times a year, whereas the general test is held only once a year, according to the test’s website. Now, rather than re-qualifying with the faster special test, applicants seeking to return to Korea must wait and retake the general test.

According to Ministry of Labour spokesman Heng Sour, South Korean law allows migrant workers to stay in the country for a maximum of four years and 10 months, after which they have to return to Cambodia and re-apply.

Sour said re-entering workers would still have priority. “Employers mostly select the experienced ones,” he said.

The general test is also more competitive, with 54,000 applicants last year for about 10,000 spots. Meanwhile, the pass rate for the special test was about twice as high, with a total of about 1,500 applicants passing out of a total of about 4,000 applicants, according to Sour and information on the website.

Kong Sary, a Cambodian worker whose contract is nearly up, said the new scheme would have other consequences.

For the general test, he said, HRD-Korea is responsible for sending names of applicants to potential employers, making it an almost random selection.

Workers who had passed the special test, on the other hand, could immediately re-start their employment with their previous employers if they had an agreement – an option that will no longer be available.

“At first, I almost couldn’t believe the news,” he said.

Neither the South Korean Embassy in Cambodia nor the Cambodian Embassy in South Korea could be reached yesterday.

In 2016, Cambodia sent some 9,400 workers to South Korea.

Additional reporting by Leonie Kijewski

MOST VIEWED

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • State of emergency draft law set for NA

    A draft law aiming to place the Kingdom in a state of emergency amid the Covid-19 pandemic is set for a debate at the National Assembly (NA) after going through the Council of Ministers’ Standing Committee meeting led by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday.

  • NA, Senate set for bill on ‘emergency’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested the Senate to convene an extraordinary meeting to review the draft law that aims to put the Kingdom in a state of emergency after the bill reached the National Assembly (NA) on Friday. The draft law, which was approved

  • Tourists can now prolong their stay

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said tourists holding Visa T and arriving in the Kingdom after January 1 will be allowed to prolong their stay until they are able to return home. The decision comes as Cambodia and most countries take measures to

  • Hun Sen, ministers, officials donate salaries in virus fight

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and other senior government officials have decided to donate their salaries to the National Committee for Combating Covid-19 in support of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus. Hun Sen announced in an April 1 letter that because the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia