A Guide to Employment Permits for Foreign Workers in Cambodia

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 3 minutes

In this article, we explain what foreign nationals entering Cambodia need to know as regards employment-related visas and work permits in the country.

Foreign nationals planning to work in Cambodia must obtain a valid E-class visa, previously known as a ‘business’ or ‘ordinary’ visa, along with a work permit and employment card issued by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MLVT).

The E-class visa is initially valid for a period of 30 days. The visa can be extended for a period of one month, three months, six months, or a maximum of a year at a time, by filing an application at the immigration department of the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

The six- and 12-month visas allow applicants multiple entries into Cambodia, while the one-month and three-month visas permit single entry. E-visas can be obtained at the employee’s nearest Cambodian embassy as well as upon arrival at Phnom Penh international airport.

Besides, foreign applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Have a job offer from an employer who is compliant with relevant regulations regarding the employment of foreign nationals in Cambodia;
  • Have entered Cambodia legally;
  • Possess an original passport with at least six months validity;
  • Have the right to reside in Cambodia;
  • Have the physical qualifications for the relevant job; and
  • Have no communicable diseases.

Obtaining an E-class visa

There are several E-class visa extension categories, which include:

  • EB visa – the most common type of E-class visa issued to foreign nationals planning to work in Cambodia. It covers foreigners who are working in the country or want to start a business; freelancers; foreign employees’ non-working partners and dependent children; or any other foreigner who wants to stay in Cambodia for more than a month;
  • EP visa – an EP visa is issued to foreign nationals looking for a job, or considering starting a business in Cambodia after the expiry of their initial 30 days stay under the E-class visa. The EP is extendable up to three months. Foreigners unsuccessful in gaining employment within these three months are not permitted to continue their stay in the country;
  • EG visa – this general visa applies to foreigners looking for work in the country. The duration can be one, three, or six months;
  • ES visa – the visa is issued for international students going to school or university in Cambodia; and
  • ET visa – This is a visa extension for technicians or workers in specific industries.

To extend the E-class visa, foreigners need the following:

  • A passport with at least six months validity;
  • A blank page in the passport;
  • One passport-sized photo; and
  • A renewal fee in US dollars.

Obtaining a work permit

In addition to an E-visa, a foreign worker must also obtain a work permit and employment card. This is the responsibility of the employer who will apply through the MVLT.

As per the country’s labor and immigration law, every foreign business owner or employee working in Cambodia and earning a regular income must secure a valid work permit through his employer. Volunteers who do not earn a salary, foreign government employees, diplomats, NGO workers, and domestic servants employed in the country are exempted from obtaining the permit.

A work permit is issued for one year, and regardless of when it was issued during the year, it is valid up to December 31 of the year of issuance. The application for its renewal must be made at the MLVT between January 1 and March 30, each year.  

Requirements to apply for a work permit

The company will need to provide the following information to the MVLT:

  • Certificate of incorporation with company stamp;
  • Registered business address;
  • Tax patent with company stamp;
  • Foreign employee quota approval;
  • Approval from the Ministry of Commerce; and
  • An article of incorporation of the company.

The documents required at the employee level:

  • Three sets of application forms as issued by the MOI;
  • Copy of passport with a valid visa;
  • Three photographs (4×6);
  • Health certificate; and
  • Written work contract from the employer.

Employment card

An employment card is a separate booklet, used for recording the employment history of a foreign worker in Cambodia. Just like a work permit, an employment card is valid for a year and requires annual renewal before the end of March each year.

Companies – foreign-owned or domestic – are restricted in the number of foreigners they can employ under the quota system.

Businesses in Cambodia employing or intending to employ foreign employees must apply for a foreign employee quota to the MLVT. The MLVT imposes a maximum 10 percent quota of an employer’s total workforce for the use of foreign employees. This comprises office employees (three percent), skilled labor (six percent), and unskilled labor (one percent).

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