Cambodians living in South Korea sent $500 million home last year, according to Long Dimanche, the country’s ambassador to Seoul.
Mr. Dimanche cited the figure on Wednesday as he greeted a new batch of Cambodian workers who had just arrived in South Korea, a post on the Cambodian Embassy’s Facebook page said.
Kong Vannoch, founder of an association of Cambodian migrant workers that provides information and language training to Cambodian workers in South Korea, said tens of thousands of Cambodian workers in the country were sending significant portions of their earnings home.
He said he was not surprised by the $500 million total. “They are quite reasonable numbers, given the high number of Cambodian workers in Korea. They make quite a decent living here,” he said.
About 60,000 Cambodians reside in South Korea and about 45,000 of them are employed, according to figures provided by the embassy, said Mr. Vannoch, whose estimate on remittances was at least $122 million short of the ambassador’s.
“With their work of about 40 to 44 hours per week, they can earn about $1,300 to $1,500 per month, and on average they send $500 to $700 back to Cambodia,” he said.
Mr. Vannoch said he was optimistic that the flow of money would remain stable.
Kim Hak Man, general manager of the Cambodian branch of Kookmin Bank—South Korea’s largest commercial bank—said about 90 percent of the company’s clientele was Cambodian workers in South Korea. He said the bank received about $120 million worth of transactions from South Korea last year, up 20 percent from 2015.
Anticipating continued growth in the market, the bank launched a mobile application in October that allows cheaper online money transfers.