Authorities Earn $29m from Foreign Worker Fees

Authorities have collected almost $29 million in fees for work permits and books, business visas and related fines
Employees work in a company office in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Employees work in a company office in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has earned more than $22 million from work permits and books, $6 million from business visa fees and another $760,000 in fines.

In a statement on Friday, Ith Sam Heng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training, said at a ceremony on foreign labor management at Sokha Hotel, that the number of foreigners who have applied for work permits and work books has increased from 400 in 2013 to 207,886 in 2019.

After the Covid-19 crisis, 181,653 applied in 2022, Sam Heng said, adding that authorities had some challenges, such as casinos, clubs and some companies failing to announce the number of foreign employees, illegal immigration of foreigners through brokers, online gambling activities, job advertisements, and scams.

In addition, there are weaknesses with regard to cooperation between authorities and various institutions, Sam Heng said, according to a statement posted on the Interior Minister’s Facebook page.

Speaking at the ceremony, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said that as Cambodian authorities were busy working together to fight Covid-19 and floods, some overseas criminals took the opportunity to commit online fraud to attract foreigners to commit illegal online gambling and lure foreign workers to work illegally under the guise of paying high wages, Kheng said.

Kheng added that authorities have launched a campaign against human trafficking, labor trafficking and sex trade and urged victims of human trafficking to provide information or file a complaint including via his Facebook page.

As of mid-January, authorities have received 707 information and complaints and investigated 445 cases involving 1,045 foreigners, Kheng said.

He added that court cases have been brought against 120 people from four nationalities. Authorities have also shut down five companies, while another four have been suspended.

Authorities have closed 229 cases for failing to locate locations and providing vague information, Kheng said.

He added that the Ministry of Interior, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, inspected foreign labour in casinos in Bavet City, Svay Rieng Province and found only 470 have valid work permits and workbooks out of more than 3,800.