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Aug 04, 2014

Cambodia to Enforce Expat Work Permits

By Max Howlett

A joint Prakas was issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Interior on July 16, 2014 authorizing the immigration and labor authorities to enforce a law that requires foreigners working in Cambodia to hold a valid work permit in addition to a Category E business visa.
Under the 1997 Labor Law (as amended) and the 1994 Immigration Law, foreigners who wish to enter and work in Cambodia are required to have a valid “normal visa” (i.e. category E visa, which is commonly referred to as a “business visa”) issued by the Cambodian embassy, consulate or immigration authorities at the port of entry and to have a work permit and an employment card issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training.
Initial validity for a business visa is for one month and can normally be extended for one (single entry), three (single entry), six (multiple entry), or twelve (multiple entry) months. Extensions are made directly with the immigration department of the Ministry of Interior or may be available through local travel agencies. Currently, the Cambodian government does not require any supporting documents for business visa applications unless there are any suspicions about an applicant’s credentials. It is likely, however, that strengthening of the immigration procedures may take place in the near future as part of reforms at the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration.
Possessing a work permit (and an employment card) had been relaxed until most recently. Following the recent creation of the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration in April, the Cambodian government has now indicated its commitment to enforce more strictly the foreigner work authorization requirements. According to the joint Prakas, government inspectors will begin foreign labor inspection at workplaces in order to fully enforce the law.  Labor inspections of businesses operating in Cambodia will include a comprehensive review of the declaration of personnel and its updates, quota approval for foreign labor usage, employment contracts for foreigners, employment cards and work permits, valid passports, valid visas of the appropriate type, and foreign workers themselves. Non-compliance can give rise to employers being fined and/or jail terms. 

While applications for work permits can be made directly to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training or through the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA), Sciaroni & Associates can provide advice regarding issues that emerge from the enforcement of the requirement for foreign workers to possess valid work visas.
Sciaroni & Associates Labor Practice Group
Obtaining good labor advice and having well-executed employment contracts will help businesses to prevent disputes, save time and cost, and preserve reputation.
Sciaroni & Associates has been heavily involved in the development of this important sector since its early stages and is a leading and trusted authority on labor matters. In addition, the firm has assisted clients in mediation, arbitration, and settlement of disputes. Members of our Labor Practice Group have also authored textbooks of the subject for Cambodian lawyers and students.
As such, we are well placed to advise and assist you on labor related matters in Cambodia, and we have represented companies, investors, embassies, and organizations in the Kingdom of Cambodia as well as individuals.
Sciaroni & Associates is a leading business and investment advisory firm serving Southeast Asia since 1993 with offices in CambodiaLaos and Myanmar.  Sciaroni & Associates assists clients in understanding the complex business conditions in those markets while efficiently identifying and resolving issues following strict international ethical standards.  Our firm provides experienced advice and seasoned business insights to many of the world’s leading companies, governments, economic think tanks, global development funds and international NGOs. For more information please visit www.sa-asia.com or contact us at info@sa-asia.com.

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Sciaroni & Associates is a leading professional and investment advisory firm doing business in Southeast Asia since 1993. Based in Cambodia with legal offices in Laos and Myanmar, we provide experienced advice and business insights to many of the world’s leading companies, governments, economic think tanks, global development funds, international NGOs and the Royal Government of Cambodia in accordance with strict international standards.
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Street Address: No. 24, Street 462, Sangkat Tonle BassacKhan Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1153 Phnom Penh Cambodia
Telephone: +855 23 210 225 Facsimilie: +855 23 213 089 Email: info@sa-asia.com