Tens of thousands of foreigners living illegally

Ben Sokhean / Khmer Times No Comments Share:

The Ministry of Interior has reported that more than 81,864 out of 182,673 foreign nationals surveyed in the Kingdom are holding invalid Cambodian documents, noting that the majority of them are from Vietnam.

“We have revoked 35,001 irregular Cambodia administration documents held by foreigners,” an Interior Ministry report said yesterday.

It added that last year, the ministry issued visas to 2,782,297 foreigners and collected $87,750 in fines from those who overstayed.

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The report also said in order to reduce the number of illegal foreigners, the government has cracked down on those who have overstayed or who are involved in crimes.

It also said that last year 1,348 foreigners from 52 countries who were involved in crimes were arrested and deported.

Since 2014, Cambodia has deported more than 15,000 foreign nationals from 91 different countries for using invalid immigration documents to live in the Kingdom.

On Thursday General Por Pheak, director-general of the ministry’s general secretariat, said during the ministry’s 2018 Stocktaking and 2019 Directive Settings Conference, that there is a need to strengthen immigration management.

“We need to strengthen immigration management in our country so it can efficiently prevent and curb illegal immigration,” Gen Pheak said . “We need to record the number of foreigners and strictly monitor their activities in order to prevent and crack down on crimes.”

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He said the ministry will cooperate closely with the Labour Ministry and other ministries in order to monitor the foreigners’ activities.

“[We need] to increase investigations into foreigners who migrate to live in the Kingdom illegally, using expired visas – and also any foreigners involved in crimes so they can be arrested and deported,” he said.

Gen Pheak also called for more cooperation between Cambodia and other countries in the region to prevent transnational crimes.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Thursday ordered his officials to confiscate invalid immigration documents from foreigners who are working and living in the Kingdom.

“You must increase crackdowns to take back any irregular documents from immigrants who refuse to surrender them to the authority,” he said. “And you must strengthen the monitoring of foreigners and immigrants and take action, based on Cambodian laws, against those who commit crimes.

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Mr Kheng also ordered the General Immigration Department to check on foreign workers, and to remind companies that they are required to report the number of foreigners they have in their workforce.

“The General Immigration Department, National Police, municipal and all provincial governors must cooperate to strictly strengthen border checks and close all illegal corridors in order to prevent the illegal crossings of both people and goods,” he said.

Last month the General Immigration Department reported that since August 2017 police have seized 7,066 counterfeit documents used by foreigners.

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