Gov’t Says New Visa Renewal Requirements May Be Delayed

The enforcement of a new regulation that would require companies to vouch for foreign employees seeking to renew their long-term visas may be postponed beyond the start of next month, pending discussions among immigration officials this week, an official said on Monday.

“For now, it’s not a work permit. It’s just a letter from a company that they are working with you,” said Sok Veasna, director of the Interior Ministry’s foreign non-immigrants department, of the changes to six-month and one-year visa extension requirements, which visa agencies began hearing about last week and were initially thought to begin being implemented on September 1.

“We’re thinking to extend [the implementation date] beyond September 1, because if this is enforced right away there is a lot of people who need to be getting this letter,” he said, adding that the start date will be determined this week. “So maybe give some more time.”

While the new regulations require that a Cambodia-registered company prepare the letter of employment, Mr. Veasna said, there could be exceptions.

“If this case happens in Cambodia—and most likely we do believe [it will], as freelancers or contractors do come to Cambodia—we need to get information for them as well” in the form of a letter from an overseas company, he said. “So mostly we’ll deal case by case.”

The government would need to amend laws if it were to require work permits for visa applications, Mr. Veasna said, as such a requirement is not currently listed in the pertinent visa sub-decree.

The changes to the current visa system are the first steps that steer Cambodia away from having among the most lax entry requirements in the region. Analysts say the new regulations are unlikely to affect foreign business investment, but that contract and freelance workers are among the most likely to feel the change.

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