Category Archives: Migration policy in Cambodia

Cambodia Creates ‘Border Pass’ for Workers in Thailand, Khmer Times

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong has signed an agreement in Thailand to create a ‘Border Pass’ for workers living along the Cambodian-Thai border.

The agreement will allow Cambodian workers, especially those who reside along the border with Thailand, to work temporarily on the condition that they return the same day.

They also agreed to passes that allow migrant workers to stay in Thailand for ten days or up to a month. Mr. Namhong said there are over 700,000 Cambodian migrants working in Thailand.

Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand who had missed renewing their working permits are allowed to renew them until March 2016, Mr. Namhong said.

According to figures from Thailand’s Office of Foreign Workers Administration, 738,947 Cambodian migrants, 696,338 workers and 42,609 dependents were registered at Thailand’s one-stop service centers for visas and working permits last year.
Artifacts to Be Returned to Siem Reap

Mr. Namhong also said Thailand would return 16 smuggled artifacts to Siem Reap province.

Speaking at Phnom Penh International Airport on Sunday, he said the Cambodian artifacts would be sent back to the Kingdom from Thailand soon.

Mr. Namhong declined to comment on when the artifacts would be returned, only saying “it will be soon.”

Thai authorities reportedly confiscated 43 ancient Cambodian artifacts from smugglers in 1999. Seven of them were returned by Thai authorities in 2009.

Cambodia sent experts to examine more artifacts in Thailand after Thai authorities seized hundreds of pieces from smugglers.

Widespread looting of Cambodia’s antiquities occurred during Cambodia’s two-decade civil war which began in the late 1960s, with many items smuggled into Thailand for sale in international antique markets or to private collectors.

Last year, US auction houses and museums returned five 1,000-year-old statues, which were smuggled from Cambodia in the 1970s, back to the Kingdom.

Mr. Namhong said that the remaining 20 artifacts needed to be authenticated.

By: Chea Vannak, Khmer Times

Published on: 12 July 2015

Interior Ministry Seeks Help on Illegal Migrants, The Cambodia Daily

The head of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department called on provincial governors and police chiefs on Wednesday to help rein in illegal immigration as the number of Vietnamese migrants doubled over a five-year period.

Speaking at an immigration meeting at the Interior Ministry, Sok Phal, general-director of the immigration department, said the number of Vietnamese migrants in the country had risen significantly since 2009.

“The Vietnamese census from 2002 until 2009 found there were 70,000 Vietnamese [migrants] living in Cambodia,” General Phal said. “[A census] from 2010 to 2014 found more than 160,000 in the country.”

In 2014, the immigration department—established in January last year after being carved out of the National Police—found 1,800 Vietnamese without proper documents, Gen. Phal said.

That same year, the department deported 1,500 illegal migrants, most of whom were Vietnamese, and more have been deported this year, he added.

“In the first six months of 2015, we deported 1,200 illegal migrants; 98 percent were Vietnamese,” he said.

During the meeting, Gen. Phal said his department needed help controlling illegal migrants, especially Vietnamese.

“Please, all provincial governors [and] provincial police chiefs in the whole country, check migrants working in the country, legal and illegal,” he said. “We want to guarantee our immigration law in the country.”

Gen. Phal added that only 20 to 30 percent of Vietnamese were crossing through official international checkpoints, but did not say how the others got into the country.

“A lot of these migrants working in the country have no documents, especially at factories,” he said.

Phat Sarath, immigration chief at the Bavet international border checkpoint in Svay Rieng province—the largest official border crossing Cambodia shares with Vietnam—said many Vietnamese cross there, but most are tourists.

“Most of the Vietnamese migrants do not come to our international checkpoint,” he said. “They come by the border corridors.”

Cambodia’s numerous border corridors can officially only be used by police or military, but locals and migrant workers are often allowed to cross.

Hou Sakun, director of the Interior Ministry’s central department of border police, said he has been ordered to crack down on these crossings.

“But it’s difficult to stop small groups of people trying to cross through the corridor,” he said, adding that his department does patrol the corridors, but it is impossible to constantly monitor them.

“For the six months of rainy season we don’t have the ability,” he said.

In August last year, the immigration department announced both a new foreigner census and a push to strictly enforce a law requiring foreigners to have work permits.

In May, Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the immigration department, said 1,873 people from 36 countries had been deported since the census began.

On Wednesday, Major General Heisela insisted that the department was not only targeting Vietnamese.

“When we go on operations, we see many Vietnamese because they are in groups,” he said. “But we do all foreigners.”

By: SEK ODOM, The Cambodia Daily

Published on: 2 July 2015

Recruitment Companies for Migrant Labor Poorly Regulated, Lawmaker Says, VOA Khmer

PHNOM PENH—Cambodian laborers continue to be deceived by dishonest recruitment companies, which are poorly regulated, a lawmaker says.

Mu Sochua, a National Assembly legislator for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, told “Hello VOA” such companies should bear responsibility for their workers, not only in Cambodia but also in the destination country.

An increasing number of Cambodians are seeking work abroad, leading to reports of abuse. Labor recruitment companies need more regulation if they are to be beneficial to workers, and they must be responsible for them once they arrive, she said.

Some recruitment companies fail to do this, in breech of Cambodia’s labor law, she said. “The company bears responsibility, from the time the workers come to register…until they board a plane,” she said. “Abroad, the company must have their own representatives recognized by the host country.” And finally, the company is also responsible for helping workers get back home.

When Cambodian laborers run into problems abroad, they should report them to the Cambodian Embassy’s labor official in that country, she added.

The labor law is clear, she said, but the implementation has been poor, despite an estimated 1 million Cambodians now working abroad, legally or not, as near as Thailand and as far away as South Korea.

Some 200 workers were recently deceived by two companies that promised work in Japan but then closed shop. “Did the [Ministry of Labor] inspect them?” Mu Sochua said. “Or did they simply not want to see it?”

By Men Kimseng
Published on 11 June 2015

Recruitment Companies for Migrant Labor Poorly Regulated, Lawmaker Says, VOA Khmer

PHNOM PENH—Cambodian laborers continue to be deceived by dishonest recruitment companies, which are poorly regulated, a lawmaker says.

Mu Sochua, a National Assembly legislator for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, told “Hello VOA” such companies should bear responsibility for their workers, not only in Cambodia but also in the destination country.

An increasing number of Cambodians are seeking work abroad, leading to reports of abuse. Labor recruitment companies need more regulation if they are to be beneficial to workers, and they must be responsible for them once they arrive, she said.

Some recruitment companies fail to do this, in breech of Cambodia’s labor law, she said. “The company bears responsibility, from the time the workers come to register…until they board a plane,” she said. “Abroad, the company must have their own representatives recognized by the host country.” And finally, the company is also responsible for helping workers get back home.

When Cambodian laborers run into problems abroad, they should report them to the Cambodian Embassy’s labor official in that country, she added.

The labor law is clear, she said, but the implementation has been poor, despite an estimated 1 million Cambodians now working abroad, legally or not, as near as Thailand and as far away as South Korea.

Some 200 workers were recently deceived by two companies that promised work in Japan but then closed shop. “Did the [Ministry of Labor] inspect them?” Mu Sochua said. “Or did they simply not want to see it?”

By Men Kimseng
Published on 11 June 2015

Nine Vietnamese Arrested in Battambang Census Raids

Nine Vietnamese nationals found to be living in Cambodia illegally were arrested at furniture-making workshops in Battambang City on Tuesday as the national immigration census nears its end, a police official said Wednesday.

Oeun Sarun, deputy provincial police chief, said the raids at the two businesses in Svay Por and Chamkar Samraong communes came after several months of investigations.

“Police have worked in the communes for a few months and after checking records they arrested nine people who were found without passports or immigration documents,” said Mr. Sarun, adding that the seven men and two women were believed to have crossed into Cambodia through illegal checkpoints in Svay Rieng and Kandal provinces within the past month.

Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the Interior Ministry’s immigration department, said that a total of 1,280 people had been deported since the census began in August, including 1,100 Vietnamese nationals.

Mr. Heisela said the latest group arrested in Battambang would be deported once he had received a letter of confirmation from Interior Minister Sar Kheng.

By Sek Odom

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