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Passport fees for workers to drop: PM

Passport fees for workers to drop: PM

THE Cambodian government will spend around US$500,000 subsidising passport taxes  for legal workers and trainees seeking employment overseas for a year.

"[The] government will provide $100 for each worker or trainee's passport, out of total expenses of $124, while the remaining $20 for the electronic chip and $4 for the photograph is the company and the applicant's responsibility," said Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday.

The prime minister said the government had issued a sub-decree dated Thursday to provide cheaper passports to Cambodians wishing to legally work or train abroad.

"Applicants must get the passport in 20 working days from the application date," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon told the Post that the program is part of the government's job-creation efforts.

"It is part of social security aid, so we are providing more funds to this sector," Keat Chhon said.

He added: "If we only spend $200,000 on these passports, it is comparable to [the money spent] building a small dam.

"When workers have the opportunity to work overseas, it will benefit their families, country and the workers themselves," said Keat Chhon.

Oum Mean, a secretary of state at the Ministry of Labour, said Sunday  overseas workers benefit the country through remittances. "We send around 5,000 workers a year to Korea, Malaysia, Thailand," he said.

More than 70,000 Cambodians work abroad, according to Ministry of Labour figures.

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