Cambodia has revoked a short-lived ban on foreigners working in self-employed jobs, like drivers and street vendors, after having just passed the directive in late August, local media reported on Monday.

Cambodia’s Labour Ministry lifts ban on foreign self-employed work

According to the Khmer Time the Labour Minister, Ith Samheng, said in a statement that the ban was no longer applied.

He added that this is due to a demand for foreign expertise in the service sector and in order to encourage investment in Cambodia.

“Because of this, the ministry has decided to allow foreign nationals to be employed in any industry and also to be self-employed,’’ Samheng added.

The order, which had blocked foreigners from doing specific self-employed jobs, including working as tuk-tuk drivers, barbers, masseurs and masseuses, shoe shiners, souvenir sellers and mechanics is now revoked.

According to a ministry report, about 160,000 foreigners from 93 countries were working in Cambodia across all sectors, with more than 100,000 Chinese workers.

The union leaders said in August that the measure came too little, too late, and called on the government to extend the ban to foreigners working in construction.

Vorn Pov, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Association, told local news outlet VOD that in the last 10 to 20 years many foreigners, including Vietnamese and Chinese.

Pov added that they had taken up Cambodian occupations and made locals lose jobs.

The Labour Ministry spokesman, Heng Sour, could not be reached for comment.

In July, Sour told VOD that the government was planning to prohibit foreigners from doing self-employed work because Cambodians could do all such work themselves.

“We don’t need foreigners to do it,’’ he said.


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