MMN Releases Proceedings of the Consultation on Labour Migration from Cambodia to Japan


On 18 February 2019, Mekong Migration Network (MMN), Cambodian Women Crisis Centre (CWCC) and Legal Support for Children and Women (LSCW) jointly organised the Consultation on Labour Migration from Cambodia to Japan at the Sunway Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The meeting was convened in anticipation of changes in Japanese immigration law, which will enter into force in April 2019. The new law will create a new migration pathway for Cambodians who are considered “Specified Skilled Workers.” Along with the Technical Internship Training Programme (TITP), the new immigration law is intended to attract migrant workers to fill gaps in Japan’s labour market created by its rapidly ageing population. Under the new migration scheme, employers can directly hire migrant workers and migrant workers will be allowed to change employers within the same sector. Japan considers Cambodia a key source of migrant workers and Cambodia is reported to be one of eight Asian countries that Japan will negotiate a new bilateral agreement on managing labour migration with.

Given this background, MMN, CWCC and LSCW held the consultation with the aim to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the migration process from Cambodia to Japan and to jointly explore interventions and strategies to improve the efficacy of migration procedures and safety of migrants. Over 50 participants exchanged their views at the event, including representatives of the Cambodian government, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Association of Cambodian Recruitment Agencies (ACRA), Manpower Association of Cambodia (MAC), Private Recruitment Agencies (PRAs), and academic experts on Japanese migration.

The two plenaries of the consultation addressed a number of topics such as trends, policies and recruitment practices of workers migrating from Cambodia to Japan, issues relating to migrants who leave their jobs without properly terminating their contracts, mechanisms for skills transfer between the two countries, available support and assistance for migrants, and actual labour conditions at work sites in Japan. These sessions were followed by a keynote speech by Her Excellency, Ms Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State, Permanent Vice President of the National Committee for Counter-Trafficking, Royal Government of Cambodia, who discussed existing concerns and possible challenges arising from the migration of Cambodian workers to Japan under the current TITP and the future migration pathway. Participants then collectively looked at opportunities and challenges involved in migration from Cambodia to Japan from the perspectives of migrant workers, CSOs, the Cambodian and Japanese governments and private recruitment agencies (PRAs). Based on the results of the discussion, they collectively formulated recommendations to improve the protection of migrant workers.

Click here for the full proceedings of the consultation meeting.

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