If you are the owner or director of a company in Cambodia and you wish to employ foreigners for more than a tenth of your total workforce, you must submit a request to the Ministry of Labour by the end of this month, or face the possibility of fines or even imprisonment.
Prakas No. 196, dated 20 August 2014, states that enterprises or establishments falling under the scope of the labour law are required to make their annual quota requests for foreign labour before the end of November of each year. These requests must be made in Khmer.
The proclamation is designed to encourage the prioritising of Cambodian workers during recruitment. The Ministry of Labour generally allows over 10% of a company’s employees to come from abroad, but details must be given on the current number of foreign versus local workers as well as reasons for why Cambodians cannot do these specific jobs.
The quota of foreign staff is supposed to be comprised of 3% office workers, 6% skilled workers, and 1% non-skilled workers.
According to Vo Vanarith of legal advisory firm Sciaroni & Associates, the garment and footwear industries submit the most foreign worker quota requests when comparing the nearly 2,000 companies registered with the Ministry.
In effect since 1 September, a new method now sees companies submit foreign worker quota requests via the Online Labour Centralised Management System, which is managed by E-Solutions (Cambodia) Ltd.
The official government fee per request is $20, but there is an additional $30 fee (plus 15% VAT) payable to E-Solutions, which covers the operational costs of the data management system and the construction of a one window service office.
“[The one window service office] is a new building located inside the Ministry of Labour premises … The general public can gain access to the Ministry’s services all in one place,” said Vanarith, who is also head of the Labour Practice Group.
It takes between one and four weeks to complete the process following the submission of the request, according to Vanarith.
Failure to meet the deadline for quota requests “may” result in a fine of 61 to 90 days of the base daily wage of the foreign worker or imprisonment of six days to one month.
However, Vanarith noted that it is possible that an extension to the deadline would be offered to companies this year.