Cambodia’s Labour Ministry seeks pact with Lebanon on maids as more seek work abroad

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

The following was quoted from extensive comments provided to journalists:

The ministry’s strategy was met with mixed reviews by economists and labour rights activists, who raised questions about the economic benefits and risk of abuse in migrant work.

Nicholas Harrigan, a senior lecturer in sociology at Australia’s Macquarie University who studies migration, said it is “far from clear” whether pushing migrant work is a viable development strategy.

Migrant work can offer people the opportunity to temporarily escape rural poverty, but most of the benefits are extracted by middlemen, Harrigan said, such as governments and recruiters.

“In general, increases in migrant workers tend to provide benefits to a few powerful political actors,” Harrigan said in an email.

Destination countries, meanwhile, are also increasingly limiting the amount of time that migrant labourers stay, Harrigan noted. In Singapore, for example, the longest visa that a low-wage migrant worker can obtain is two years.

These trends mean that migrant labourers are increasingly treated like “rented property” instead of future citizens, according to Harrigan.

“[Governments] don’t need to worry about education, aged care, health care, or the next generation – and the migrant workers are basically disposable,” he said.

Period30 Jan 2018

Media coverage

1

Media coverage

  • TitleCambodia’s Labour Ministry seeks pact with Lebanon on maids as more seek work abroad
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletPhnom Penh Post
    Media typeWeb
    Duration/Length/SizeNewspaper Article
    CountryCambodia
    Date30/01/18
    DescriptionCambodian workers may soon be headed to Lebanon, the latest country that the Ministry of Labour is targeting as a destination for thousands of underemployed Cambodians looking for work amid stagnant job opportunities at home.

    In a meeting with outgoing Lebanese Consul-General Rafic Yazbeck yesterday, Minister of Labour Ith Sam Heng said the two countries hope to speed up discussions about sending workers to the Middle Eastern country as part of a broader strategy to improve the job market for Cambodians.

    ...
    Producer/AuthorYon Sineat and Daphne Chen
    URLhttps://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/cambodias-labour-ministry-seeks-pact-lebanon-maids-more-seek-work-abroad
    PersonsNicholas Harrigan