Cambodia to change long-term visa rules, threatens closure of expat newspaper

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The Cambodian government, which is currently engaged in a crackdown on foreign institutions such as NGOs, civil society organisations and charities, is also getting harder on long-time expats and independent news outlets.

According to an August 25 report in The Cambodia Daily, news were circulating that foreigners without work permit would no longer be eligible for long-term visas, starting from next month.

The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia said on its Facebook page that “as of September 1, no long-term visas [six- and twelve-month visas] will be issued to foreigners without work permits.” The post added that freelancers will need to give the address of their Cambodian employer and also apply for a work permit, as do self-employed expats. News are that there will be a new retirement visa for expats who do not work in the country, but possible requirements such as an income statement or mandatory health insurance have not yet been released.

Some major travel agencies also confirmed that no applications to issue or renew long-term visas will be accepted by them without work permit after August 31.

The demise of the most liberal visa regime in Southeast Asia comes as a heavy blow for long-term expats in Cambodia who were accustomed to easy-going visa regulations which didn’t require any kind of permits or other paperwork for one-year business or “ordinary” visas (E-type visas) which could be extended indefinitely.

It is expected that the greatest impact of the tougher regulation, is likely to be on foreign-owned small businesses who operate without getting their workers permits to save costs, as well as on freelancers, so-called digital nomads, transitory workers who frequently change jobs and younger foreigners who stay in the country but don’t actually work.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian government threatened to shut down The Cambodia Daily, i.e to revoke its license, on grounds of an allegedly unpaid tax bill of $6.3 million. Reportedly, the country’s Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the paper to pay by September 4 or “pack up and go.”

The Cambodia Daily, founded by US news veteran Bernard Krishner in 1993, is disputing the tax bill and started campaigns for press freedom on Twitter under #savethedaily and #pressfreedom.

Political analysts say that the threat comes as the Cambodian government is becoming increasingly nervous of critical voices ahead of next year’s elections.

On August 23, two independent radio stations announced their closures on the same day the Cambodian foreign ministry ordered foreign staff members of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute to leave the country within a week and halt operations. The government accused of group, which receives US government support, of violating laws on non-governmental organisations and taxes.

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The Cambodian government, which is currently engaged in a crackdown on foreign institutions such as NGOs, civil society organisations and charities, is also getting harder on long-time expats and independent news outlets. According to an August 25 report in The Cambodia Daily, news were circulating that foreigners without work permit would no longer be eligible for long-term visas, starting from next month. The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia said on its Facebook page that “as of September 1, no long-term visas [six- and twelve-month visas] will be issued to foreigners without work permits.” The post added that freelancers will need...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Cambodian government, which is currently engaged in a crackdown on foreign institutions such as NGOs, civil society organisations and charities, is also getting harder on long-time expats and independent news outlets.

According to an August 25 report in The Cambodia Daily, news were circulating that foreigners without work permit would no longer be eligible for long-term visas, starting from next month.

The Overseas Press Club of Cambodia said on its Facebook page that “as of September 1, no long-term visas [six- and twelve-month visas] will be issued to foreigners without work permits.” The post added that freelancers will need to give the address of their Cambodian employer and also apply for a work permit, as do self-employed expats. News are that there will be a new retirement visa for expats who do not work in the country, but possible requirements such as an income statement or mandatory health insurance have not yet been released.

Some major travel agencies also confirmed that no applications to issue or renew long-term visas will be accepted by them without work permit after August 31.

The demise of the most liberal visa regime in Southeast Asia comes as a heavy blow for long-term expats in Cambodia who were accustomed to easy-going visa regulations which didn’t require any kind of permits or other paperwork for one-year business or “ordinary” visas (E-type visas) which could be extended indefinitely.

It is expected that the greatest impact of the tougher regulation, is likely to be on foreign-owned small businesses who operate without getting their workers permits to save costs, as well as on freelancers, so-called digital nomads, transitory workers who frequently change jobs and younger foreigners who stay in the country but don’t actually work.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian government threatened to shut down The Cambodia Daily, i.e to revoke its license, on grounds of an allegedly unpaid tax bill of $6.3 million. Reportedly, the country’s Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered the paper to pay by September 4 or “pack up and go.”

The Cambodia Daily, founded by US news veteran Bernard Krishner in 1993, is disputing the tax bill and started campaigns for press freedom on Twitter under #savethedaily and #pressfreedom.

Political analysts say that the threat comes as the Cambodian government is becoming increasingly nervous of critical voices ahead of next year’s elections.

On August 23, two independent radio stations announced their closures on the same day the Cambodian foreign ministry ordered foreign staff members of the Washington-based National Democratic Institute to leave the country within a week and halt operations. The government accused of group, which receives US government support, of violating laws on non-governmental organisations and taxes.

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