Census Finds 80K ‘Legal’ Foreigners in Country

Since a nationwide census of foreigners began in August, the Interior Ministry’s general department of immigration has found 80,000 foreigners living in Cambodia legally, 10,000 more than the 2002 census determined to be in the country, the head of the department said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting at the Interior Ministry about immigration policy, immigration department director Sok Phal said the 80,000 foreigners were only those with valid residency documents—the majority of them Vietnamese nationals.

Police officials from all 24 provinces and Phnom Penh meet at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday to discuss strengthening immigration policy. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Police officials from all 24 provinces and Phnom Penh meet at the Interior Ministry on Wednesday to discuss strengthening immigration policy. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“This is a temporary figure,” General Phal said, explaining that the number would change once the census was finished, but did not say when that would be.

Gen. Phal also said that as of December 31, 1,299 foreigners from 31 different countries living in the country illegally had been deported since the census began.

On Sunday, Uk Heisela, chief of investigations at the immigration department, said that of those deported, 1,134 were Vietnamese.

Mr. Phal said Wednesday that the immigration department had also collected about $340,000 in fines during the census.

“These fines were for people without work permits,” he said.

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