Expatriates working in Cambodia without labour identification cards will face fines and even jail when strict new enforcement kicks in, according to a July 16 joint statement from the ministries of interior and labour.
Government inspectors, the statement adds, will begin checking workplaces immediately in order to fully enforce a law the ministries say has rarely been enforced.
Under that law, employers, the statement adds, must provide ID cards to expatriates, separate to their visas.
“We want to implement this more effectively, because ASEAN integration in 2015 will strengthen the need for expatriate jobs,” a Ministry of Labour officer said on condition of anonymity.
“By law, if they do not have labour IDs, they will be fined 200,000 to 500,000 riel [$50 to $125],” he said, adding that in extreme cases or for repeat offences, they could be jailed for up to three months.
All relevant authorities should “implement this joint declaration effective immediately”, the statement reads.
The unnamed ministry officer said that one reason behind announcement was “to collect revenue for the government”. Labour IDs for foreign workers cost $100.
Heng Sour, spokesman for the Ministry of Labour, could not be reached for comment.
Yov Khemara, director of the labour department in Preah Sihanouk province, said his province had issued 432 expatriate labour IDs to workplaces over the past three years.
“We will cooperate even more after this new announcement, because after the General Department of Immigration is created, they will urge the job to be fully implemented,” he said.
The department was established in April and operates out of the Ministry of Interior.
Chao Mao Virak, deputy police chief in charge of immigration in Siem Reap province, said his police officers had not yet implemented the joint statement’s orders.
“What I can say is that we have more than 1,000 expats working in Siem Reap, but I don’t know if all of them have working cards,” he said.
“It’s not new work. It’s all in the law that we have to implement it,” he said.
According to immigration law, the Ministry of Interior has “the right to expel any foreigner coming to work in Cambodia without a labour ID”.