Chinese living in Kingdom more than doubles since ’17

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A billboard in Sihanoukville advertises a new housing complex in Khmer and Chinese. Heng Chivoan

The number of Chinese nationals living in Cambodia this year has increased to more than 210,000. The figure rose from last year’s 100,000, the newly appointed Secretary of State Sok Phal confirmed yesterday.

He said: “Of the 210,000, more than 78,000 are living in Preah Sihanouk [province], but only about 20,000 have work permits.”

The figures were based on the statistics of visa extension requests by Chinese nationals and that last year’s figure did not include diplomats and tourists.

Speaking in front of high-ranking officials and police chiefs from the General Department of Immigration in a meeting yesterday, Sok Phal urged the authorities to crack down on those who violate the law.

Also present at the meeting, the General Department of Immigration director Kirth Chantharith guaranteed a clear and effective immigrant management “blueprint” as he is committed to carefully monitoring the movements of all foreigners coming into and leaving the Kingdom.

“I will work hard to research, in order to introduce [effective] immigration strategies as well as plans for new actions to ensure clear management of arrivals and departures at all border checkpoints in this country,” he said.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday said he will set up a support team consisting of members from the General Department of Administration, General Department of Immigration, the General Commissariat of National Police and the ministry’s legal team to assist the Preah Sihanouk administration in solving the immigration-related problems in the province.

“The team is assigned not to replace the local authorities, but to help them cracking down on the [immigration] violations that they cannot solve themselves,” Kheng said.

Political analyst Meas Nee suggested that if the government could manage its immigrants well, it will benefit not only national security but also its economy.

“Because those foreigners came to create jobs for Cambodians and generate revenue for the country,” said Nee.

Advocating a clear measure on foreigners movement management, Nee added: “The relevant [authorities] must validate each Chinese visitor’s purpose of visit.

“They must make sure one is a businessperson if they stated they come on business. Same goes for tourists.”

Nee expressed the belief that the government has not been strict about the monitoring yet, thus it would lead to a great loss to the Kingdom’s revenue.