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Labour Ministry tries to clarify permit rules

Foreigners working in Cambodia have just over a month to apply for or extend their work permit and employment card, according to the Ministry of Labour.

In a directive issued on Monday, the ministry attempted to clarify a hazy and newly enforced section of the Labour Laws stipulating work permits.

Employers are instructed to apply for permits and employment cards for their staff “no later than [the] end of March of each year”.

Before applying for the cards, employers must first submit “quotas” of foreign workers to the Ministry of Labor for approval, said the instructions signed by Minister Ith Sam Heng.

“The use of foreign workforce quota shall not exceed 10 per cent of the total Cambodian workers. In case more than 10 per cent of foreign workforce is required, specific reasons such as specialties and professional skills of the workforce shall be precisely indicated,” the statement read.

After receiving permission to employ the foreigners – and paying an 80,000 riel ($20) application fee – the staff can then apply for work permits and employment cards.

The combined cost for the required documents and application for permits ranges from $85 to $125 depending on the worker’s visa category.

Businesses that do not comply with the directive will face fines up to $180.

According to Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour, there are more than 8,000 foreigners working in Cambodia.

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