The General Immigration Department yesterday reported that it has revoked about 90 percent of invalid documents used by foreigners living in the Kingdom as the June 30 deadline approaches to rescind 100 percent.
In August 2017, Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered a crackdown on immigrants holding illegal or invalid documents. Some of the documents are used to vote during elections, Mr Hun Sen noted.
Mr Hun Sen gave the Interior Ministry the authority to revoke documents and take action on foreign nationals who use these documents. It also has the authority to take action against persons who forge the documents.
Sok Phal, a secretary of state with the Interior Ministry, said most of the documents revoked included family books, resident books, birth and marriage certificates, as well as identification cards and passports.
“We have revoked documents from nearly 70,000 foreigners, mostly Vietnamese nationals,” Mr Phal said, noting that GID launched a campaign to revoke the documents at the end of 2017 and will continue to do so until June 30.
“When we finish our campaign, we will monitor the migration of people from at least six nations. We will have lists and photos,” he said.
In a report issued yesterday, GID noted that it has revoked 36,094 invalid documents used by 68,801 foreigners from nine countries since 2017. A total of 111,421 immigrants have applied for legal status, it added.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday said illegal migration of Vietnamese nationals must be handled through enforcement and diplomacy.
“We have not seen legal action regarding the revocation of documents held by Vietnamese nationals who illegally migrated to the country,” Mr Chey said, adding that Vietnamese government officials have in the past requested authorities to protect Vietnamese nationals living illegally in the Kingdom.
GID general director General Kirth Chantharith yesterday said he has urged immigration officials to meet the June 30 deadline.
“We have succeeded a lot in revoking invalid documents – we have revoked about 90 percent,” Gen Chantharith said. “I think it’s a big achievement that we are resolving this issue. The issue of Vietnamese migration has been used to attack government officials.”
After a recent visit to Vietnam by National Assembly president Heng Samrin, Chheang Vun, chief of the National Assembly’s commission on Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, Information and Media, told reporters that Vietnam requested Cambodia ensure a smooth relocation of Vietnamese migrants living in floating houses in the Kingdom.
According to Mr Vun, Mr Samrin replied that the relocation was being done based on the Kingdom’s laws which are also applied to Cambodians.
“We have implemented the law equally to all those living in Cambodia, including Vietnamese and other nationals,” Mr Vun quoted Mr Samrin as saying. “We will try our best to protect all those who come to live in Cambodia based on our laws.”