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Nearly all our workers in Thailand documented

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Workers pass arrive at the border to Thailand at Daung International Checkpoint in Battambong province. Heng Chivoan

Nearly all our workers in Thailand documented

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng said nearly 100 per cent of Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand are documented.

Speaking during the official launch of a code of ethics to protect workers, Sam Heng said over the past years, the government had made great efforts to implement migration policy to ensure Cambodian workers could work legally in Thailand.

“In the past six or seven years, we had faced major problems because our workers went to work illegally in Thailand. Only 60 per cent of them had enough legal documents. To address the issue, the government worked in cooperation with our partner country,” he said.

Sam Heng said the government is working to address the remaining issue and help a small number of Cambodians who are still working illegally in Thailand to obtain legal permits.

“Only a small number of workers are working illegally in Thailand after their contracts ended. They continue to work and live there without legal documents. We are working with [Thai authorities] to address the issue,” he said.

The ministry said Cambodia has so far sent around 1.2 million workers to six countries including Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong through public and private recruitment agencies. Each year, it said, the migrant workers sent over $2 billion home to support their families.

Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said on Thursday that the majority of the 1.2 million workers are currently employed in Thailand.

“In total, the number of Cambodian migrant workers does not exceed 1.2 million. Over 40,000 are currently working in South Korea and more than 20,000 in Malaysia,” he said.

Bou Ra, a migrant worker in Thailand, agreed that most Cambodians working in the country are documented.

“I have been working in Thailand for six years. We do not face any problems now and it is getting better,” she said.

Meas Sa Im, the deputy head of women and children’s affairs at rights group Adhoc, said while she applauded the government’s efforts in helping Cambodians gain work permits in Thailand, she had observed that some of them were still being cheated by brokers.

“Helping them to work legally is one way to address the issue, but more needs to be done. We should provide additional training and educate them on the law so that they are aware of their rights and contracts. They should know this before obtaining a permit to work in Thailand,” she said.

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