Working in Cambodia?

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Working in Cambodia

When working in Cambodia, a lot of things are often unclear to expats. The economy, the job search, social security, taxation, and work permits – all these aspects can be quite confusing. Read our Expat Guide for advice on these topics concerning working in Cambodia.
Although finding a job can be difficult, many expats decide to live and work in Cambodia.
  • Mining, garment-making and tourism are the main economic sectors in Cambodia, but skilled professionals are highly sought after.
  • Whether you want to teach English or work as an engineer, online portals are the best place to start your job search.
  • You don’t need to be granted permanent residency in Cambodia in order to be considered a resident there, so you will most likely still be taxed.

Cambodia’s Economy: A Slow Recovery

Since the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, Cambodia’s economy has slowly been recovering. A large percentage of the work force is working in Cambodia’s garment industry, 700,000 people to be precise.  Aside from agriculture, tourism, and construction, the garment industry is one of the major economic sectors and accounts for about 80% of all exports. Another branch which is attracting considerable investment is mining, particularly when it comes to gold, bauxite, iron, and gems.

The tourist industry is another source of income for Cambodia. Since 2007, the number of annual visitors has exceeded two million. In 2015, the country welcomed an estimated 4.8 million visitors. Still, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world, struggling with corruption, limited access to high-quality education, and income inequality. If you plan on working in Cambodia, you should be aware that the job prospects are not the best. More than half of the population is under 25 years of age and many live on just 140 USD per month. The country relies heavily on donor assistance.

How to Find a Job in Cambodia

If the current state of the country’s economy has not changed your mind about working in Cambodia, then you should start looking for a job as soon as possible. As mentioned above, the job situation is rather poor. However, as a highly-skilled professional, you might have somewhat of an advantage.

Teaching English

Many foreigners working in Cambodia are travelers who care less about their career and more about starting a new life and experiencing a new culture. If you do not need much to get by and are simply looking for a job which helps your cover your basic living expenses, teaching English might be the right choice for you. There is an abundance of private language schools which are constantly looking for new staff. These jobs are usually poorly paid, but you should be able to earn enough to get by and enjoy your life there. These are some resources you can use to find a teaching job abroad:

International travel and teaching websites, such as Go Abroad, can also help you find a teaching job in Cambodia. You can also visit the language centers and international schools in person and inquire about a job opening. Keep in mind that you need actual teaching qualifications for the latter.

The Job Hunt

If you are looking for more than just a run-of-the-mill teaching job, you should probably find out which of the international companies are hiring. Not only will they pay you more, they might also be looking for someone with just your qualifications. There are two English-language daily newspapers with job listings, the Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post. Additionally, you can turn to one of the general online classifieds if you plan on working in Cambodia:

Because of the relative ease with which you can secure a visa and a work permit in Cambodia, many expats decide on opening a business there. If you plan on working in Cambodia but want to remain your own boss, this might be the perfect opportunity for you.


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