The General Department of Immigration (GDI) is compiling data on the estimated more than 90,000 foreign permanent residents in Phnom Penh and other provinces for a newly launched app.
GDI’s Department of International Immigration director Dim Ra told The Post on November 24 that the process had been finished in 10 provinces, while figures from Phnom Penh and the remaining provinces are currently under review and verification, and slated to be completed before the end of this year.
“We’re compiling these statistics to verify the number of foreign immigrants who are living in Phnom Penh and various provinces. This list is for foreigners who permanently reside and declared their status,” he said.
GDI director-general Kirth Chantharith led a meeting on November 23 to check the foreign immigrant list and launched the Immigrant Management System (IMS). He advised officials to finish the list before the end of this year.
“The compulsory duty that GDI has to do regularly is to give permanent residence cards and check validity. It needs to be able to manage foreign immigrants seriously and effectively,” he said.
GDI spokesman Keo Vanthan said on November 24 that legal immigrants staying in Cambodia must have been acknowledged as foreign immigrants. After a declaration of acknowledgement, GDI will release cards for those foreigners.
“A foreign immigrant that doesn’t have a permanent residence card means that they are staying in Cambodia illegally. Our strategic plan of action is to pull out all the stops and hand out the cards to all those who have been declared,” he said.
Vanthan said foreign immigrants who have invalid cards have to renew. The validity of the card is two years. More than 140,000 non-immigrant foreigners are living in Cambodia and the Chinese make up the largest group, according to data from the Foreigner Presence in Cambodia System (FPCS).
Soeng Sen Karuna, a spokesman for local rights group Adhoc said people in the past criticised the flow of illegal immigrants into Cambodia.
“Cambodia should practice proper immigration management to avoid criticism,” he said.