Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Price of citizenship could rise

Price of citizenship could rise

Price of citizenship could rise

Foreigners who want to obtain Cambodian citizenship, which is usually available for a price, may soon have to shell out more than ever if government plans to raise the bar go through.

Cambodia is one of a few dozen countries where foreigners can, in essence, buy citizenship – in the case of the Kingdom by investing at least 1.25 billion riel (about $312,000) in a government-approved project.

That figure was set in 1996, when the country’s nationality law was first adopted, but no longer reflects Cambodia’s economic growth, according to Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

“Now it has been more than 20 years,” he said. “The amount is not equal to the development of Cambodia.”

A 15-member working group created by Prime Minister Hun Sen last month is now studying how much the price should rise, according to Sopheak.

Over the past three years, 1,050 foreigners have obtained Khmer citizenship through investment, according to a report released by the ministry last month. The option is particularly popular among real estate investors from China and South Korea who wish to own land in the Kingdom.

Ngov Sok Hun, a legal associate at BNG Legal, said more and more foreigners are seeking Cambodian citizenship so that they can own land. She recommended raising the cost, as it would lead to larger investment overall, so long as the new amount was not exorbitant.

Thida Ann, the director of CBRE Cambodia, said most investors with qualifying projects are already investing far more than $300,000, so “it makes sense” to raise the amount. “Right now it’s small, so if they want to raise it, I support it,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • EU timber deal in firing line

    A committee of more than 20 national and international organisations filed a petition to the EU on October 10 to prevent it from signing a timber trade agreement with Vietnam, noting that the deal would be disastrous to the Kingdom’s forests. The petition claims Vietnamese timber