Over 200,000 Cambodian migrants leave Thailand
Updated: 2014-06-16 20:48
Cambodian migrants look through grills of a truck as they wait to cross the Thai-Cambodia border at Aranyaprathet in Sa Kaew June 15, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
PHNOM PENH - More than 200,000 Cambodian migrant workers have been either deported from or fled Thailand since early this month in the wake of a junta-led clampdown on illegal migrant laborers, Major General Pich Vanna, chief of Cambodia-Thailand Border Relation Affairs Office, said Monday.
"As of Monday evening, more than 200,000 Cambodian workers have been repatriated from Thailand," he told Xinhua over telephone, adding that the figures were collected from all seven border checkpoints along the Cambodia-Thailand border.
He estimated that nearly 400,000 Cambodian workers have been working legally or illegally in Thailand.
"Many more will be returned to Cambodia in coming days," he said.
Hundreds of military trucks and buses are still standing by to bring those workers back to their hometowns "free of charge" as local authorities and charitable organizations have provided them with food and water, he said.
Cambodian Minister of Labor Ith Samheng estimated Monday that only more than 200,000 Cambodian laborers, including 80,000 legal migrant workers, are working in Thailand.
"We calculated that Cambodian migrant laborers working in Thailand had sent home about 200 million U.S. dollars every year," he told reporters.
The minister said in order to assist those returnees to find new jobs in Cambodia, the Ministry of Labor has been running advertisements in newspapers and broadcasting on televisions with phone numbers, so returnees can call to apply for new jobs or register for vocational training programs.
"Currently, there are a lot of employment opportunities in Cambodia in the sectors of industry, construction, tourism and agro-industry," he said. "If workers do not have skills, the ministry's 38 vocational schools will offer them training courses free of charge."
Koy Kuong, the spokesman for the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said last week that the massive deportation was due to the Thai military coup, which forced factories and enterprises to stop using illegal foreign workers.