The Ministry of Labor has ordered Cambodia Labor Supply, the largest company sending workers to South Korea, to comply with new regulations that will hinder it in dispatching workers to Korea and potentially threaten the jobs of more than 1,000 Cambodians, company officials said Tuesday.
CLS Chief Executive Officer Meidine Natchear said the ministry has forbidden her company to collect fees from workers prior to their departure for South Korea, and said her firm cannot cover its own costs if this initial payment is not made.
The ministry has also required her company to deposit $100,000 in its bank account immediately, adding that she has currently only deposited $40,000.
“If the company doesn’t have the money, the company should close,” Labor Ministry Employment and Manpower Department Director Hem Bunny said on Tuesday.
Hem Bunny pointed out that in March, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed a decree prohibiting companies from collecting fees from workers in advance or demanding bank guarantees from the workers.
An April 10 letter from Korean Federation of Small and Medium Businesses Commissioner Lee Hyun-moo to Hun Sen states that unless CLS can collect the fees prior to the departure of workers or obtain guarantees, Cambodia’s 2006 quota for workers entering South Korea will be transferred to another country.
The deadline for CLS to submit its list of 2,100 applicants for work in Korea, of whom half will be chosen for jobs, is April 24, Meidine Natchear said.
CLS’ dispatching cost for each Cambodian worker who goes to Korea is $2,915, which covers airfare, training and Korean language lessons, Meidine Natchear said.
Cambodians can earn $800 a month over the course of the two-year apprenticeships, she added.
CLS is the largest of three firms that send workers to South Korea under the apprenticeship program.
There are two systems by which Cambodia can send workers to South Korea—the small business federation apprentice program and the guest worker permit.