Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Construction work progress continues amid illegal workers’ arrest




Construction work progress continues amid illegal workers’ arrest

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Workers being arrested at the Sino Great Wall construction site last week. Heng Chivoan

Construction work progress continues amid illegal workers’ arrest

Since the start of the year, department authorities at the Ministry of Interior have arrested more than 10,000 illegal workers, with the bulk of them being construction workers. However, industry experts and investors are split on the opinions that the arrest will impinge on the development of the sector.

Meng Chamroeun, project manager of mixed-use development Olympia City, told Post Property on Monday that the arrests of workers on construction sites do not affect the efficiency of developments, and especially that of Olympia City’s because “we do not employ illegal workers”.

Out of abidance by laws set by the government, Chamroeun said, “All the foreign experts that our company hires have legal working visas. Five per cent of our workforce are foreign experts from countries like Korea, Thailand, China, and Vietnam.”

He added, “For the decoration team, we need to hire foreign experts because they are skillful and they work faster than local decorators,” explaining that with the rapid development of the industry, there is a lack of human resources although there does exist a good number of skilled local decoration experts. On the other hand, workers dealing in laying the concrete and metal frameworks of the building are predominantly local.

Touch Samnang, deputy director of OCIC, one the largest local construction and real estate developers, said they do not employ illegal workers, but 20 to 30 per cent of their experts are foreigners because they work more productively, with the end-product being of more premium quality and aesthetics.

One foreign expert’s work is equivalent to that of three local experts, because the foreigners have more experience and were trained by proper schools, according to Samnang.

Approximately 10,000 workers and experts, most of whom are Cambodian, are employed by OCIC.

In terms of current wages, unskilled workers normally earn from 20,000 to 24,000 riel a day, whereas skilled workers can bring home between 24,000 and 40,000 riel a day.

Sear Rithy, chairman of Worldbridge Land, which is investing almost $1 billion into condominium projects The Bridge and The Peak, said his company has never employed illegal workers, and finds it a step in the right direction that the authority is now paying more attention to construction sites.

He said, “I support this course of action. I do not support the employment of illegal workers.”

Uk Hai Sela, head of investigation and law enforcement at the Ministry of Interior’s immigration department, affirmed the department has arrested more than 10,000 illegal workers who have come to work in Cambodia.

Ninety per cent of those rounded up are of Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Filipino nationalities. He also confirmed that most of the workers work in the construction sector, while a scattered number are employed in carpentry shops, coffee shops, and massage parlours.

He believes that “the arrests of illegal workers will affect the construction sector and ongoing constructions. It will slow down the construction, so developers should use legal workers to avoid losing money and time.”

“The department will push this work forward. It won’t stop,” Sela stated.

Sela said that arrested illegal workers will be sent back to their countries, and they will have the opportunity to return to work in Cambodia only on the basis of possessing proper visas and passports.

The comments come in the wake of 190 Chinese workers being nabbed at the Sino Great Wall International Engineering’s building without work permits last week.

However, a representative of Oxley Worldbridge, which has contracted Sino Great Wall to build The Peak and The Bridge, two massive mixed-developments in the Tonle Bassac commune, said the company had lodged applications for the workers’ permits, though the process was not complete.

MOST VIEWED

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • Bill covering dress code draws ire

    Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek responded on Tuesday to criticism concerning a draft law that would ban women from wearing overly revealing clothing, saying that input from all parties will be considered as the law moves through the promulgation process. Several

  • Passing the test: Is Cambodia’s education system failing its people?

    The Kingdom’s education system needs to grow its people but some flaws might stifle​ this growth Coming from the Khmer Rouge occupation, with the loss of many scholars and academicians and a collapsed government, the education system had to be reconstructed from scratch – one

  • What’s the deal with Cambodia and China’s FTA?

    Cambodia’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China kicks off a series of FTAs in future but for now, critics wonder what else the parties could bring to the table apart from what it already has to date By the end of this year, Cambodia