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Foreigners rounded up

Authorities gather Vietnamese migrant workers yesterday at a construction site in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district after they were caught working illegally.
Authorities gather Vietnamese migrant workers yesterday at a construction site in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district after they were caught working illegally. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Foreigners rounded up

Continuing efforts by the Department of Immigration yesterday resulted in the detention of 50 Vietnamese construction workers and a warning of future fines issued to their employer.

Uk Hai Seila, investigation chief for the Department of Immigration, said that following a warning letter, authorities will resort to legal measures including fines for companies large or small found to be employing illegal immigrants.

“Currently, we are in a grace period, after finding a violation we file a warning letter, but if [illegal workers] are discovered a second time then the company’s owner will be fined and face charges in court,” he said.

According to Seyla, at about 6am yesterday, 51 Vietnamese construction workers, 15 female and 36 male, were checked for documents and arrested while they were working at the “Borie Angkor Phnom Penh” construction site located in Sen Sok district.

Ny Chakrya of rights group Adhoc is welcomed efforts to find illegal immigrants, including the creation of new immigration units by the national police reported earlier this month.

However, he said, the focus should be on border checkpoints rather than businesses.

“Most business owners do not know because they have no right to check or interrogate workers about their legal status.

To solve this problem, aside from tighter border enforcement, Cambodia should charge [Vietnamese] for a visa, because in a visa the length of stay and reason for entry is clearly indicated”, he said.

Since the start of 2015, some 1,500 Vietnamese illegal immigrants have been deported back to Vietnam.

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