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Immigration finds 6k living undocumented in first eight months

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People queue at an immigration point in the Phnom Penh International Airport last year after disembarking from a flight. Vireak Mai

Immigration finds 6k living undocumented in first eight months

In the first eight months of this year the general department of immigration at the Ministry of Interior identified 6,000 foreigners from 26 countries living in the Kingdom without proper documentation, said its director-general Sok Phal .

Speaking at an inauguration ceremony of a new building for the department on Monday, Phal said the authorities had revoked 80 per cent of irregular documentation they encountered, whether it is expired or illegitimate.

He said many of the document holders were Vietnamese nationals and were arrested before being deported.

“The foreigners did not follow Cambodia’s immigration law, didn’t pay for work permits or flouted other rules, so we deported them,” he said.

Phal said after being arrested, document holders were given two choices; either return to their country of origin, or apply for proper documentation in Cambodia. Within seven years, foreigners can obtain citizenship if no problems occur.

He said that besides deporting illegal immigrants from Cambodia, the department cooperates with the Ministry of Labour to check the work permits of foreign workers who come to work in Cambodia. All foreigners must have valid passports, work visas, and work permits as stated in laws of the Kingdom.

Chan Ean, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior, said during the inauguration that all immigration officials should try to fulfil their duties and assigned work in order to control foreigners efficiently, keeping their eyes out for those who had illegitimate documents.

From 2014 up to last month, Cambodian authorities deported 15,000 foreigners from 91 countries living and working here. Of those, 11,195 were Vietnamese nationals.

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