The Cambodian embassy in Seoul now offers passport and consular services to citizens residing and working in South Korea, thereby eliminating the need for travel to their home country for renewal.

Prime Minister Hun Manet’s recommendation prompted this move, addressing the challenges faced by students and workers who previously had to return to renew passports, incurring both time and financial expenses. 

Launched this month, the initiative aligns with efforts to enhance consular services for Cambodian citizens abroad. Further proposals include establishing a Cambodian consulate in southern Thailand to better serve individuals in the neighbouring country.

The labour ministry advises individuals seeking detailed information regarding the specific date and location for services to contact the Cambodian embassy in Seoul directly by either calling +82 02 3785 1041 or contacting the embassy’s trade attache at +82 010 8898 8644 during regular working hours.

On January 2, ministry spokesperson Katta Orn said the government has long considered providing passports to Cambodians abroad.

Following Manet’s call, the ministries of Labour, Interior, and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation collaborated to form a dedicated working group focused on facilitating identification and passport services for students and workers residing in Korea.

This step underscores the government’s commitment to make these processes more accessible and convenient for Cambodian citizens overseas.

“This approach is excellent for supporting workers in South Korea, particularly in terms of reducing costs associated with travel. The government is exploring the possibility of extending this mechanism to other countries, beyond South Korea,” he said.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Labour Alliances and Human Rights (CENTRAL), backs the idea of easing the process for Cambodians in Korea, particularly migrant workers. 

He highlighted the importance of ensuring the affordability of passport, suggesting a reasonable cost of just $20 – as opposed to around $100 currently – to benefit workers.

Read: Ministry may lower passport fees due to public dissatisfaction

“I propose keeping the passport cost as low as possible and expediting the processing services. If it could be completed within an hour or even half an hour, that would be even better. Workers often come from distant places, so swift processing at one go would be ideal. Additionally, providing passport services on holidays, if feasible, would ease the burden, eliminating the need for them to take leave,” he said.

Tola envisions the government streamlining services by establishing a passport office at its embassy or through a local consulate catering to people residing far from the South Korean capital.

These locations could serve additional purposes, such as facilitating tourist visa applications for Koreans, thereby contributing to elevating national income to a higher level.