Following the recommendations of Prime Minister Hun Manet, the Ministry of Interior has finalised the delivery of passport services to Cambodian citizens living and working in South Korea. Ordinary passports will be available from January 10.

In a January 5 notice, the ministry announced that the service will be available at the Cambodian embassy in the Yongsan district of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. They will be available from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday, with the exception of public holidays, or other special occasions.

The notice explained that passports would be provided to people aged 15 and over. Applicants must provide several documents, including original passports which are close to expiring or Cambodian national ID cards, as well as certified copies of birth certificates, family books or residential letters issued by the Cambodian embassy abroad.

“Babies or children under the age of 15 must have the aforementioned documents, as well as written permission letters from their parents or guardians, in addition to medical documents, in the case of a birth overseas. Passports will be issued within four to five weeks of application,” it added.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training also issued a January 2 notice to Cambodians living and working in South Korea.

“At the recommendation of the prime minister, we are very close to facilitating passport services abroad. This will save workers time and money, as they will no longer need to return to the Kingdom to renew their passports,” it said.

Moeun Tola, executive director of the Centre for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights (CENTRAL) supported the new mechanism, noting that it will provide great convenience to Cambodian workers.

However, he said he would like to see the passports available for a low price, suggesting $20 – as opposed to around $100 currently.

“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 added.

While meeting with factory workers on September 9 last year, Manet instructed relevant ministries and institutions to consider offering passport services abroad, suggesting the Cambodian embassy in Seoul as a good location.

He also ordered the establishment of a consulate in Southern Thailand, so that Cambodian migrant workers can more easily access public services.