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Ministry warns of nefarious recruiters

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Labour Minister Ith Samheng speaks in a workshop in 2021. Hong Menea

Ministry warns of nefarious recruiters

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng called on the public to be wary of advertisements for overseas employment, saying some recruiters had nefarious intent and noting that the labour ministry had not sent seasonal workers abroad this year.

He made the remarks in response to advertisements offering seasonal workers very high incomes abroad.

In a recent press release, the ministry said they had received letters of complaint – from members of the public and local authorities – which alleged that some companies were even collecting fees from people in order to secure the “well-paid” work. It said the people operating these schemes were both foreign and Cambodian, and that they often recruited customers through language schools and civil organisations.

The ministry said it had received requests for cooperation on sending workers abroad seasonally in the past, but had concluded that there were many challenges surrounding seasonal work, in particular.

“These challenges include the lack of appropriate and clear mechanisms, the short-term nature of the employment, high costs which are often not matched by earnings and working conditions which are not guaranteed or protected by the country where the work will be done,” said Samheng.

The ministry reiterated that Cambodia has not yet sent seasonal workers abroad, as it requires study on the economic situation of potential destination countries, working conditions, service charges that workers have to pay, and especially the mechanisms to send and receive decent job opportunities abroad.

“If an agreement on sending seasonal workers abroad – to any country – is made, we will announce it publicly. In the meantime, I urge the public to exercise increased caution to avoid getting cheated by opportunists. Please share this message,” Samheng added.

The total number of Cambodians working abroad legally is more than 1.3 million – over 1.22 million in Thailand, nearly 460,000 in South Korea, more than 230,000 in Malaysia and over 110,000 in Japan. There are 821 in Singapore, 202 in Hong Kong and 43 in Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said on the 136th anniversary of International Labour Day on May 1 that Cambodian workers abroad sent billions of dollars of remittances each year. The remittances made a major contribution to economic growth and their families’ livelihoods had also improved.

“We must continue to strengthen cooperation with our partner countries – Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, among others – to offer migrant workers job opportunities, protect the rights and interests of workers working in those countries and make it possible for them to receive social protection while they are working and upon their returns,” he said.

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