The Cambodian embassy in Bangkok has expressed full support for the establishment of a consulate in the southern region of Thailand, a move aimed at providing services closer to migrant workers living and working there.

Chhim Vibol, a labour attache to the embassy, said that having a consular office would reduce the time and expenses incurred by Cambodians residing in the southern Thai provinces, who would otherwise need to travel to Bangkok for services.

“This is precisely what the workers in the south need. Both service and protection provisions must be extended to our workers.

“Cambodian workers living outside of Bangkok welcome this development as it demonstrates the care and attention of our leaders,” he said.

“The majority of our workers require assistance with travel documents or work permits. These documents are necessary for obtaining insurance policies and other benefits from their employers. Additionally, they can seek assistance when faced with issues such as non-payment by employers. They will no longer need to travel long distances to access these services,” he elaborated.

Ath Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labour Confederation, welcomed the establishment of such a consulate, asserting that it fulfils a crucial need for workers in the neighbouring country.

“In my opinion, opening a consulate in southern Thailand to streamline the documentation process for our workers is highly commendable.

“Many workers in the south and nearby provinces still lack proper documentation, with some forced to work illegally,” he said.

While addressing nearly 20,000 workers in Kampong Speu province on September 9, Prime Minister Hun Manet stated that the goal of the consulate is to alleviate difficulties and bring government services closer to Cambodian workers, considering the substantial number of workers employed in Thailand compared to other countries.

“We were without a consulate in the southern part of Thailand, specifically in the vicinity of Songkhla, Hat Yai and Yala cities. I’ve recently discussed the matter with Ouch Borith, standing secretary of state for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. We’re exploring the possibility of establishing a consulate in this area to enhance our services for workers,” he said.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training reported that over 1.2 million workers reside and work in Thailand, with the majority engaged in industries, services, agriculture and fishing sectors.