Beginning from the second week of August, foreigners will be banned from driving taxis and tuk-tuks, as well as being motorcycle delivery drivers, street food vendors, hairdressers and product distributors among other lower-income jobs.
Some white-collar jobs such as the head of human resources will also be off-limits to foreigners, as will certain positions in the private sector.
The move serves to protect the local employment market, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training announced on Tuesday, saying most of the jobs non-Cambodians will be prohibited from doing are based in the informal economy.
Ministry spokesman Heng Sour told The Post on Tuesday that the decision will protect small enterprises and family-owned businesses.
“We are protecting small and family-run enterprises and employment in certain areas. At this juncture, Cambodia has to identify some jobs that foreigners are not allowed to do,” Sour said, adding that other countries have similar laws.
He said: “Most of the jobs that foreigners will be banned from doing are in the informal sector, such as vendors selling food on the street or on carts, or being taxi drivers or motodops. These are jobs Cambodians can do, and we are prohibiting foreigners from doing them.”
Cambodia, like other countries, allows foreigners under national and international laws to invest and open businesses if they have been issued investment licences or business permits by the authorities.
They also need employment visas and work permits to work in the Kingdom.
Legal expert Sok Sam Oeun told The Post on Tuesday that banning foreigners from certain employment was a positive move as more, particularly Chinese nationals, were moving to Cambodia and taking jobs from the locals.
He said loopholes in the law prohibiting foreigners from taking certain jobs had allowed them to open any business they wished.
Sam Oeun said the government should increase taxes on foreigners and see they are properly controlled.
“I think if foreigners are employed, they should be taxed more than Cambodians. In some employment areas, we can lose advantages,” Sam Oeun said.
He said the government’s systems to monitor and control foreigners was still proving ineffective.
According to the Labour Law and recent prakas on foreign workers, only 10 per cent of the workforce of Cambodian enterprises, including factories, can be foreign, with these usually employed in specialist roles.
The law instructed businesses to give priority to Cambodians in certain positions.
Sour said foreigners working in Cambodia must pay $180 for a one-year visa, and they also require a work permit costing around $130 per year.
Employers were required to pay around $50 a year for each foreign staffer, who also contributes about $360 per year to the national budget, he said.