Nearly 50,000 Cambodians expelled from Thailand in 2016
25 Jan 2017 at 13:10 WRITER: KHMER TIMES
PHNOM PENH - Nearly 50,000 Cambodians who left to work in Thailand were sent home through the Poipet International Border Checkpoint last year because they were working illegally, according to Banteay Meanchey provincial hall.
The figures were included in a national police report.
The report said the provincial hall held its 2016 annual meeting on Monday and revealed that in 2016, 49,987 Cambodians - 16,261 of them women and 4,264 children - were returned to Cambodia in 1,159 vans through the Poipet border gate because of their illegal status.
Provincial governor Suon Bava said there was nothing wrong with going to work in a foreign country as long as it was done properly through official channels, according to Khmer Times.
“Migrating for work is a normal thing. It is part of the rights and freedom ensured by the government, but what is important is the legality of the migration,” he said.
“We can’t say if we will reduce the number of migrant workers because there are many benefits in migrating. They can learn skills and knowledge and also have more money to run a business to support their own family when they are back.”
Mr Bava said officials were trying to reduce illegal migration through restrictions at all border gates in Banteay Meanchey province, as instructed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
Soum Chankea, a provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that unemployment and the low prices for agricultural products inside Cambodia encouraged more people to seek work in Thailand.
“Because there is no market for their produce and there are no jobs for them inside the country, that’s why we can see many Cambodians migrating to work in Thailand,” he said.