Foreigners working and owning businesses in Cambodia must now apply for new work permits and undergo compulsory health checks, Othsman Hassan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Labor, said Tuesday.
An official Cambodian work permit and “work book,” containing the details of an individual’s salary, will cost $100 per year, Othsman Hassan said. Compul-sory health checks for foreigners will cost an additional $15.
Staff of international organizations, non-governmental organizations and diplomats will be exempt from the new requirements, while “big investors,” who have come to live in Cambodia permanently, will only pay $50 per year, Othsman Hassan said.
The work permits and work books are required in addition to the business visas currently required by foreigners working in Cambodia, which cost $268 annually.
“We had this requirement before but it was not publicized,” Othsman Hassan said. “The revenue [from work permits] is now several hundred thousand dollars a year, but we hope it will be millions,” he added.
A new directive issued by the Finance Ministry in November formalizing the work permit fees for foreigners states that local government officials will receive 30 percent of the fees collected from foreigners as a bonus.
Foreigners are invited to apply for papers immediately, but will not be fined for failing to do so in the initial stages of the new revenue campaign, Othsman Has-san said.
Garment Manufacturers Asso-ciation Secretary-General Ken Loo said that Chinese workers in the Cambodian garment sector have long been required to purchase work permits.
Outside the garment sector, the requirements may come as a surprise. “So far, we have been off the radar—I know they have been collecting that from the Chinese garment workers for a long time,” said one expatriate bar owner in Phnom Penh. “I am sure they would love to collect the fee from business owners as well.”