Government officials who travel overseas for work will have to turn over their service passports when they return to Cambodia starting this month due to misuse of the documents to overstay official trips and partake in unrelated work, according to a Foreign Affairs Ministry statement.
“These cases surprised authorities in those countries, and they began to pay strong attention because they could not understand why illegal migrant workers were using service passports,” said the statement, released Wednesday.
The passports—issued to officials undertaking government work overseas—will be taken back at entry points starting on March 21, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry.
“Recently, officials from some units and institutions, when their missions ended…they used service passports for traveling to work as illegal migrant workers abroad,” he said.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that the former system, in which officials personally returned service passports to their respective ministries, was not effective.
“[Now] the ministry has to request to the Ministry of Foreign affairs to issue a minister with a service passport,” he said.
Correction: A previous headline for this article incorrectly suggested that the new rule would only apply to ministers. It will apply to government officials below the level of minister.