Category Archives: Migration policy in Cambodia

Myanmar warns migrant workers in Malaysia

Myanmar police officer searches a vehicle during a random security check at a check point near the landmark Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday. Malaysian counter-terrorism police have warned of possible attacks by militants inspired by the so-called Islamic State due to the treatment of Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine State. (EPA photo)

YANGON/KUALA LUMPUR – Myanmar said on Monday it had sent out safety instructions to its workers in Malaysia after attackers hacked five of them to death with swords, weeks after it barred workers from going there, partly because of security fears.

Tension between the Southeast Asian neighbours has risen in recent months over the fate of Myanmar’s stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, with Malaysia accusing Myanmar of genocide over its treatment of them.

Last Thursday, four masked men wielding swords attacked Myanmar workers after they had left a factory in the Serdang district on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur. Five were killed and two wounded.

Malaysian police said seven Myanmar men had been detained shortly after the attack and they did not see any “religious motivations” behind it. They gave no more details.

Mostly Buddhist Myanmar stopped its workers going to Malaysia in December, after Najib Razak, prime minister of the predominantly Muslim country, described Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya as “genocide” and called for foreign intervention.

Labour-short Malaysia hosts about 147,000 Myanmar workers, according to Myanmar data.

The spokesman for the Myanmar president’s office, Zaw Htay, said safety instructions had been issued to Myanmar workers in Malaysia and illegal Myanmar workers there were urged to contact the embassy, state media quoted him as saying.

Myanmar was working with Malaysian authorities to investigate the attack and the ban on workers going to Malaysia would remain in force, he said.

Nyunt Win, deputy director general at Myanmar’s Labour, Immigration and Population Ministry, said security worries had been one reason for the ban on workers going to Malaysia.

“There are several reasons for the ban on Myanmar migrant workers going to Malaysia, including security concerns and the fact that they are trying to stir up political troubles against Myanmar,” Nyunt Win said. He did not elaborate.

Last week, Malaysia’s top counter-terrorism official told Reuters in an interview that Myanmar faced a growing danger of attacks by foreign supporters of Islamic State recruited from Southeast Asian networks in support of the Rohingyas.

Malaysian authorities detained a suspected IS follower planning to go to Myanmar to carry out attacks, the head of the Malaysian police counter-terrorism division, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, said, adding that Myanmar targets outside Myanmar were also at risk.

Myanmar warns migrant workers in Malaysia

By: Reuters

Published on: 10 January 2017

Cambodia to grant 200,000 copies of travel documents to Cambodian migrant workers

The Cambodian government will grant 200,000 copies of travel documents to Cambodian migrant workers.

Employment Department Director General Arak Phrommanee said that most of the registered Cambodian workers have not received travel documents which could be used in lieu of a passport.

He discussed with Seng Sakda, the director general of the Cambodian Department of Labor and Heng Zur, the director general of the Cambodian Department of Finance and was advised that Cambodian government officials will visit Thailand and grant 200,000 copies of travel documents to Cambodian migrant workers.

The Cambodian officials suggested that the Thai Department of Employment collect the names of Cambodian migrant workers and check the receipts of the fee for the Thai documentation before submitting it to them. The copies of the travel documents are expected to be delivered in September.

By: National News Bureau of Thailand

Published on: 9 August 2016

Philippines and Cambodia to Protect Migrant Rights

In order to promote and protect the rights of migrants and migrant workers, Cambodia and the Philippines held their first bilateral round table meeting over migration earlier this week.
According to a joint statement released after the meeting and obtained by Khmer Times yesterday, migrants and migrant workers play an important role in the economic growth and development of both countries. The assurance and protection of migrant rights with legally-binding international and regional legislation will only strengthen the economies of Cambodia and the Philippines, it said.
The joint statement said part of the assistance to migrants must come from in-country consulates.
“As countries of origin, both sides shall promote mutual support and cooperation between their respective diplomatic and consular missions abroad and between the line ministries in charge of migrants and migrant workers temporarily or permanently residing abroad, including through capacity-building cooperation, regular consultation and exchange of views and best practices in addressing challenges encountered in relation to protection and promotion of migrants and migrant workers’ rights and welfare,” the statement said.
Both sides reaffirmed their commitments to those migrants most at risk of mistreatment, especially women and children suffering at the hands of human traffickers. The countries vowed to seek third-party or third-country help in the event they alone are unable to protect a worker’s rights.
Labor Ministry secretary of state Soeung Sarsochenda said that although the Cambodian government does not consider relying on migrant labor as the only path to long term economic-social development, the government has recognized that supporting migrant workers helps in the overall development of the Kingdom’s families and communities and also reduces country-wide poverty rates.
“Relating to labor migration, the government has been making efforts to educate and encourage workers who want to migrate to work abroad, to choose an appropriate means to do so in order to cut down the risks of human trafficking,” Ms. Sarsochenda said.
She added that the efforts to protect workers on the part of the country sending them was vital, but requires cooperation from the country receiving the workers to guarantee full protection.
“The Cambodian government welcomes and supports the initiative of the government of the Philippines to have a joint declaration to protect foreigners and migrated workers,” Ms. Sarsochenda added.
Jesus Yabes, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, said during the roundtable with Cambodia that the Philippines has been organizing four important processes in order to control migration, including the institution of an integration program for incoming migrants.
There are more than 620,000 Cambodians now working overseas.

By: Mom Kunthear, Khmer Times

Published on: 5 May 2016

Government Halts Migration to Thailand for Four Months

The Cambodian government has agreed to a request from the Thai Labor Ministry to temporarily block migrant workers from traveling to Thailand for the next four months as it conducts a census into migrants in the country, according to a statement released on Thursday.

Cambodia’s Labor Ministry said it had agreed to stop issuing passports, work permits and travel documents to anyone who plans to find work across the border from April 1 until July 29, according to the statement dated Wednesday.

Contacted on Thursday, Labor Ministry spokesman Heng Sour said Cambodian migrant workers already in Thailand would also have to request a permission letter from the Thai Labor Ministry in order to leave the country during the census, and would only be able to do so under exceptional circumstances.

Mr. Sour added that workers would not be able to cross the border with a “pink card,” which allows them to work in Thailand as they wait for passports and visas.

“They will find it difficult to leave Thailand because they can’t use a pink card so they have to go to labor officials in Thailand to be issued a permission letter,” Mr. Sour said.

Moeun Tola, who heads the labor rights group Central, said the suspension would not stem the flow of Cambodians to Thailand. Desperate for decent paying jobs, many migrants have already chosen to cross the border illegally in order to avoid red tape and administrative costs.

“I think Thai business mostly depends on migrant workers. Even though the Thai government issued that policy, but I’m sure that Thai businesses will not be happy with that policy because they depend on a lot of the migrants workers—not only Cambodia, but Myanmar, Laos. It is impossible to stop migrant workers,” Mr. Tola said.

“To go to Thailand by the legal procedure, it [takes] too long, and also people have to spend a lot of money in terms of recruitment fees or document and so on,” he added. “People choose to just migrate illegally…. People will keep going, keep going.”

By: The Cambodia Daily

Published on: 22 April 2016

Cambodian migrants returnees statistics 2015 (through Poipet – Klongleuk International border).

Number of Cambodian migrants returnees through government-to-government repatriation 2015 (Poipet – Klongleuk International border).










       4,325        2,661        1,358           178           128                  104


       4,175        2,457        1,350           220           148                  102


       4,835        3,111        1,437           180           107                  108


       6,538        3,995        2,084           275           184                  168


       3,664        1,936        1,161           355           212                    93


       3,360        1,827        1,090           313           130                    87


       5,259        2,813        1,825           389           232                  114


       7,267        3,861        2,594           551           261                  153


       6,610        3,643        2,229           523           215                  140


       4,417        2,427        1,424           395           171                    96


       4,168        2,294        1,308           351           215                    87


       4,703        2,704        1,436           289           274                  106
     59,321      33,729      19,296        4,019        2,277              1,358
 PDF [80 KB]

Source: Poipet Transit Center (PTC), 31 December 2015, PTC Director

Poipet Transit Center (PTC) is a reception center of Ministry of Social Affairs which has been establishing since 2003 following a 2003 bilateral agreement between Cambodia and Thailand to combat human trafficking. This is the only official Transit Center for Cambodian migrant returnees through government-to-government repatriation.

In addition, the Transit Center is also deploying their mobile team staff in-charge at reception center to host Cambodian migrant returnees through deportation as well. The role of PTC’s mobile team staff at reception center is to conduct quick screening to identify victims of trafficking and labor exploitation as well as children in special needs among deportees in order to refer to NGO partners, especially CWCC, for services provision.

Currently, PTC is partly supported by CWCC. CWCC supports PTC to cover all expenses of food and hygienic materials to migrant returnees and their family members during their stay at PTC. CWCC is also supporting salary for one PTC staff who is in-charge at reception center to host Cambodian deportees from Thailand.

Every year, PTC refers at least 30 victims of trafficking, labor exploitation and child migrants in special needs to CWCC for services including medical care, shelter, legal aid, psycho-social support, and reintegration (including livelihood) and follow up visit.

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