The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has announced a two-month extension to the deadline for applying for the use of foreign workers for next year.
Cambodian labour law requires firms employing foreign workers to apply for permits by the end of each November for the following calendar year.
In a press release dated December 9, labour minister Ith Sam Heng declared that such businesses would now have until the end of January to register their foreign workforce, noting that some employers are late to file this year.
“[The ministry] would like to remind all owners or directors of enterprises and establishments who need to use foreign workers for 2021 to hurry to apply for permission for the use of their foreign workforce by January 31, 2021,” it said.
The ministry stressed that employers who fail to register by the end of the extended grace period will face fines in accordance with the law.
The Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia deputy secretary-general Kaing Monika told The Post on December 10 that it was a good idea for the government to favour and facilitate business operations in the country while dealing with the Covid-19 crisis.
According to Monika, the delayed filings from some factories are due to companies having faced suspensions in labour and production. He said uncertainties stemming from this year’s extraordinary events, which have left production orders reduced or pending, are among myriad financial reasons that have led companies to having insufficient time to make decisions regarding their foreign workforce and subsequently file for permits for the next year.
“The government has postponed [the deadline] for two months, which is a convenience for investors in order to have sufficient time to apply for [permits for] their foreign workforce. The provision of this extension will be enough for some companies and factories to return and resume their production operations,” he said.
Monika estimates that Cambodia’s textile and garment sector employs upwards of 40,000 foreign labourers. Cambodian law allows local enterprises to use skilled foreign labour for 10 per cent of their total workforce.
According to a report released by the interior and labour ministries in 2018, there were more than 100,000 unregistered foreign workers in Cambodia employed without a work permit, representing an annual loss of $20 million in tax receipts.