The Cambodian government plans to establish a consulate in Songkhla province, Thailand, to support the large number of Cambodian migrant workers who are employed there. The Thai government intends to open a Thai consulate in Siem reap province.
Following Prime Minister Hun Manet’s return from his official trip to Thailand on February 7, Jean-Francois Tain, minister delegate attached to the prime minister for foreign affairs, addressed a same day press conference.
“Cambodia and Thailand have reiterated the need to strengthen diplomatic relations. Cambodia will establish a consulate in Songkhla province, while Thailand will open one in Siem Reap province,” he said.
He added that the main purpose of establishing the new consulates is to facilitate public services and promote trade, investment and tourism between the people of the two countries. He described the decision as examples of the political and diplomatic results of Manet’s visit.
Katta Orn, spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, said on February 8 that the new consulates will be established soon.
“This shows the close attention we pay to caring for our people, especially the migrant workers of the two countries. The new consulates will meet the needs of migrant workers, whether for visas, or any other problems that may arise,” he said.
Far Saly, president of the National Trade Union Coalition (NTUC), viewed the new consulate as an excellent support mechanism for Cambodian migrant workers in Thailand.
“However, the officials of the consulate must work hard and actively put the interests of migrant workers in Thailand first. They could be of great help to both legal and illegal migrant workers. Therefore, the efficiency of their work will be very important,” he said.
He added that although the new facility will help, the government must do more to prevent people from going to work abroad illegally.
He suggested that the government strengthen legal protections of all migrant workers, as illegal workers in particular were vulnerable to exploitation.
According to Tain, during the visit, Manet was able to elevate relations between the two nations, establishing it as a “strategic partnership”.