PM pushing for more migrants to South Korea

Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche speaks at an event in October.
Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche speaks at an event in October. Facebook

The government is pushing for an increase to the quota of Cambodian migrant workers allowed in South Korea, while at the same time fearing that a deal reached recently between Laos and Seoul on workers may actually lead to decreases in the number of Cambodians welcomed abroad.

Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday weighed in on the topic during a speech to garment factory workers after meeting with South Korean Ambassador to Cambodia Kim Weon-jin.

“They regard Cambodian workers as having high standards, highly respecting the rules and having high professional ethics . . . His Excellency [Minister of Labour] Ith Sam Heng needs to work on this task in order to increase the quota,” he said.

Cambodian Ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche, however, said on Tuesday he was concerned the quota may be reduced, as South Korea had just inked an agreement with Laos, which is not yet publicly available, on welcoming workers.

“So when Laotian workers come [to South Korea] it will cause Korea to reduce workers from all other countries,” he said, adding there are about 60,000 Cambodians in the country.

“We are requesting them not to cut the Cambodian labourers, just other countries,” he said. “Please keep the quota between 8,000 to 9,000 labourers.”

But Ministry of Labour spokesperson Heng Sour said there was no need to worry, and that South Korea “always” reserves a quota for “friends”.

“So, with the special request of . . . Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen, the total quota for Cambodian worker[s] in 2018 will not be declined but increased,” he said in a message.

The South Korean Embassy could not be reached yesterday.

Additional reporting by Leonie Kijewski