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Hiring foreign employees.

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Hiring foreign employees
Acclime helps you set up, manage & advance your business in Cambodia and beyond.

When companies in Cambodia want to hire foreign employees, there are certain requirements regarding employee quotas and work permits that employers must follow.

There is also an inspection team that may conduct inspections on companies that hire foreign employees. Therefore, employers must ensure that their employees are legally hired.

This guide will outline what is needed to hire foreign staff.

Hiring foreign employees

If a Cambodian company wants to hire foreign employees, it must follow the below requirements:

  • Employers may use their employment contract template for registration purposes, but it must not violate the labour law or any other applicable rules.
  • Employers must re-register foreigners’ employment contracts if the contract has expired or if the contract is modified
  • Employment contracts must be made in writing and in three copies, with the Khmer translation version attached if the contract is in a foreign language

For companies registered in Phnom Penh, the employment contract must be submitted for registration at the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MLVT) Department of Occupation and Workforce. Companies outside of Phnom Penh must register with the MLVT municipal and provincial office.

Businesses planning to hire foreign employees must apply for the foreign employee quota with the MLVT. The number of foreign employees should not exceed 10% of the total number of Cambodian employees per company.

This percentage is divided into three employee groups:

  • Office workers – 3%
  • Skilled workers – 6%
  • Non-Skilled workers – 1%

After receiving the quota, the company can apply for work permits through the Foreign Workforce Centralised Management System (FWCMS).

If the company wants to hire more employees than the 10% quota, it must follow the rules prescribed in Prakas 277/20 regarding Special Conditions on the Employment of Foreign Nationals issued in August 2020.

According to Article 2 of Prakas 277/70, to hire additional foreign workers in special conditions, owners or directors of the company shall:

  • Submit a request for approval of the use of foreign workers from the MLVT attached with the written employment contract of each foreign worker. Generally, the request will outline why the foreign employee is required in the company and why local employees are not available to fulfil the position.
  • Fill in the work permit application for foreigners on the data controlling system of foreign workers through the FWCMS
  • Pay the work permit fee as stated in the Joint Prakas between the MLVT and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Joint Prakas No.335/20)
  • Obtain a valid foreign national employee visa/residence permit

Obtaining a work permit

Foreigners who are looking to work in Cambodia will need an E-class business visa, which is valid for 30 days and can be extended for one month, three months, six months and a maximum of one year. The one month and three-month visa allows only one entry, while the six month and one year visa allows multiply entries.

The foreign employee must also obtain a work permit and employment card, which is the employer’s responsibility who must apply through the MLVT.

The employer must provide the following documents to the MLVT:

  • Certificate of incorporation with company stamp
  • Registered business address
  • Tax patent with company stamp
  • Foreign employee quota approval
  • Approval from the Ministry of Commerce
  • Company’s article of incorporation

Documents from the employees include:

  • Three copies of the application form issued by the Ministry of Interior (MOI)
  • Copy of the passport with a valid visa
  • Three 4x6cm photographs
  • Health certificate
  • Written work contract from the employer

Foreign worker work permit inspections

Cambodia established a Joint Foreign Workforce Inspection Team (JFWIT) to inspect companies’ compliance with the labour legislation. The JFWIT conducts inspections at the company’s premises either with or without notice.

Documents that are subject to inspection include:

  • Declaration of employees
  • Declaration on staff movement
  • Quota approval to employ foreign employees
  • Foreigner’s employment contract in Khmer
  • Foreign employee’s passport
  • Foreign employee’s entry visa and latest visa extension
  • Work permit and employment card

It is important to ensure that foreign employees have valid work permits because, without a proper work permit, employers may be subject to a fine and punishment according to the Labour Law on Immigration.


Cambodian companies are allowed to hire foreign employees at a ratio of 10% of the total number of Cambodian employees. If a company wants to exceed 10%, the employer must submit a request to the MLVT.

Employers must also apply for a work permit and employment card from the MLVT on behalf of the employee. Employers must make sure that all foreign employees are legally allowed to work in Cambodia because if the company is caught illegally hiring employees, the employer may be subject to a fine or punishment.

Acclime has a team of HR specialists who can provide advice on hiring foreign staff and ensure that all requirements are met.

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