Cambodia considers allowing more foreign workers

The Cambodian Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training will now allow foreign workers to make up more than 10 percent of certain enterprises’ staff if companies cannot find local workers to fill positions.

The announcement, signed by Labour Minister Ith Sam Heng in mid-August, said enterprise owners who fall under the scope of Article 1 of the labour law can file a request to employ an increased amount of foreign workers, the Phnom Penh Post reported.
Ministry spokesperson Heng Sour said the decision aims to meet the needs of full-time production chains which operate 24 hours per day, noting that the night entertainment, agriculture and construction sectors are still lacking workers.
According to this ministry’s regulation issued in 2014, enterprise owners or managers must prioritise recruiting Cambodian workers, and foreigners must not account for more than 10 percent of their staff.
However, Executive Director of the country’s Center for Alliance of Labour and Human Rights Moeun Tola said the ministry should not have made this decision because currently, Cambodian citizens returning from abroad are facing unemployment.
Allowing more than 10 percent of foreigners to work seems to open an opportunity to compete between foreign and Cambodian workers, he noted.

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