Officials are looking to recruit more than 1,000 skilled local workers for a major building project in Greece, the largest project to employ Cambodians abroad in 50 years.
The three-year project, to build a stadium for the Summer 2004, Olympic Games in Athens, will employ 1,222 Cambodian construction workers, engineers, cooks, technicians and administrators.
“Cambodians built Angkor Wat,” said Oum Mean, director of the Labor Department for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. “Now they will build the Olympic Stadium in Greece.”
The jobs, on a renewable one-year contract, will pay between $600 and $1,800 a month, a boon for Cambodian laborers who make between $1.30 and $2 a day, said Hou Vudthy, head of the Ministry’s employment office.
Workers will also get free insurance, transport, food and accommodation.
“They will pay me if I get sick,” said 27-year-old painter Chea Vannarith, who hopes to land one of the jobs. “It pays a lot.”
But working in Europe also has its drawbacks. “What food am I going to eat?” he said.
With the boom in construction and industry during the last few years, Cambodian workers are developing better skills and becoming more attractive to foreign employers, Hou Vudthy said. Last year, some 900 workers were recruited to work in Malaysia as garment and domestic workers.
The Labor Ministry is now working to make deals to employ Cambodian workers in South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau, Oum Mean said.
Candidates for the jobs in Greece must be between 20 and 40 years old, have good health, speak English and have five years relevant experience. Applications, which close July 1, should be sent to the recruitment office at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium.