Firm Offers to Find Jobs For Cheated Migrants

A recruitment company has offered to help find employment in Thailand for a group of migrant workers who have accused another firm of cheating them out of hundreds of dollars each and leaving them at the Thai border last week, the company’s director said Wednesday.

Elite Manpower Agency’s managing director Yang Sovichea said that his company was willing to send the more than 200 workers who had registered with the now-closed Chin Vanda Manpower Company to Thailand without requiring any payments upfront.

“Recently, the factories in Thailand need a lot of workers and I don’t have enough workers to keep up with demand,” he said. “Those migrant workers are victims and I pity them and want to help them.”

Mr. Sovichea added that the workers would be charged 2,000 baht (about $55) per month for the duration of a two-year contract in which they would make about 9,000 baht (about $247) per month.

Neak Heang, a coordinator with the National Union Alliance Chambers of Cambodia who is representing the workers, said none of them had registered yet because the Interior Ministry was still in possession of their passports.

“I think this is a good chance for them to apply for a job in Thailand without having to pay money to a recruitment agency,” he said, adding that the workers still wanted jobs abroad in order to pay back loans they took out to pay the initial $250 to $400 fee to Chin Vanda Manpower.

On Tuesday, about 50 of the workers protested outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to ask for the speedy return of their passports, which police confiscated from the company’s office.

Nop Bunthy, a 35-year-old who was among the cheated workers, said he still wanted to work in Thailand, but was skeptical of registering with Elite Manpower.

“I don’t trust the company because even though the union leader told us…that the company won’t charge us, when we went to the agency’s office they told us they would charge us to check our documents,” he said.

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