Fulfilling The Dream

Labor Migration in Cambodia and the benefits,
challenges and risks that come with it

Migration is a livelihood strategy for many Cambodians seeking better employment opportunities, and it is an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the country. Migration is an agent for development and an important contributor to poverty reduction all across Cambodia. With more than 1 million Cambodians migrating every year, ensuring the well-being of migrants -and the families they leave behind- are a central part of IOM’s work. Improving migrants’ skills, providing safe migration training, and promoting the rights of migrants are important steps in improving their socioeconomic conditions. Access to health care is one of the main issues faced by migrants and mobile
populations. IOM Cambodia works to enhance access to communicable disease prevention, testing and treatment for migrants, mobile populations and migrants in remote areas.

Lek Khoum’s granddaughter, Rachany, has been under her care since she was only three months old when
her parents left to work abroad in Thailand. Remitting back 1,000 Thai Baht a year, they return back to
their village only once a year to see their daughter and family. Rachany, now four years old, barely remembers
growing up with her actual parents and now usually calls her grandmother ‘mommy’ instead.

IOM works with the Government of Cambodia to give support to those irregular migrant workers returning from Thailand
through the Migrant Reception Centre (MRC) in Poipet, the main crossing point for Cambodian migrants going to Thailand.

The MRC acts as the first point of arrival and assistance for those irregular migrants. Every day, Cambodian migrants, a mix of men, women and children arrive at the MRC by the busload.

Upon arrival, they are provided with food and water, and are assessed for any urgent medical needs they may have. They are also sensitized on the risks of irregular migration and then referred to partner organizations who can assist them further.

Dozens of Cambodians commute through the Thai border at Poipet. For many, they work daily in nearby border towns while others might venture further in to work for short- to long-term periods.