Cambodian migrant workers to South Korea increased by about 135 per cent in 2011, making Cambodian nationals the fourth-biggest migrant worker population in the East Asian country.
A recently expired ban on Vietnamese and Indonesian workers in South Korea accounted for the increased demand for labour from countries in the region, Cambodian labour officials said.
The Kingdom sent 4,957 workers to South Korea last year, a large increase on the 2,116 sent the year before. Nepalese and Bengladeshi migrant workers are the most populous.
“We had a sharp increase last year because the Korean government had temporarily stopped receiving workers from Vietnam and Indonesia after they found irregularities in the examinations there,” said Heng Sour, the chief of overseas manpower at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.
Migrant workers must pass an examination to work in South Korea. Cambodia first sent workers to South Korea in 2002, however an official memorandum of understanding wasn’t signed between the two governments until 2007.
Although the ban on Vietnamese and Indonesian workers has been lifted, Heng Sour said Cambodia still hopes to improve its position in the Korean labour force.
Coordination of Action Research on Aids and Mobility Executive director Ya Navuth said South Korean employers have treated Cambodian migrant workers well. He said he supported sending more workers to the country.