Due to the unstable nature of the Cambodian Riel, the US Dollar is a common currency that is used throughout Cambodia. This can mean that Cambodia has slightly higher prices than its neighboring countries, as costs are rounded up to meet the dollar as cents of the US dollar are not in use, though change may be given in Riel.
Phnom Penh is at the center of Cambodia’s economy, and tourism makes up a significant part of the industry. As a foreigner moving to Phnom Penh you will be a desirable candidate for a job in the local tourism industry, and Phnom Penh offers an eye-opening experience about the country’s history. The tourism industry is rapidly growing and becoming more diverse, with new attractions such as cinemas and restaurants with a wide variety of cuisines.
The other major industry in Phnom Penh is textiles which accounts for 80% of Cambodia’s exports. The garment industry continues to grow rapidly and there is a lot of foreign investment into this part of the economy. Throughout the rest of the country, garments and textiles continues to be a major export, though in more rural areas agriculture is a major source of income for many natives.
For foreigners working in Cambodia, teaching English is a popular choice. Salaries are higher in Cambodia compared to those in other parts of South East Asia, and it is possible to get a job teaching English with little experience, tough a TEFL certificate or some teaching experience will help you to have more options of where you can work.
Learning English is important to students here and the level of English in young adults is very high. These jobs can be found online, but be wary of agents offering to help you find a job for a fee, as this is not necessary, and schools will pay agents themselves to find staff.
In order to work in Cambodia, all foreigners on long-stay visas need a work permit in line with the Labor Law of 1997. It is the responsibility of the employer to obtain a work permit for expats who are coming to work for them, but in reality, this is not always being arranged. It is worth discussing this with your employer before you move out to Phnom Penh.
Cost of the work permit is 100 USD per calendar year. In order to apply for a work permit, expats are required to submit a blood test each year, but this can be avoided by paying a fee of 30 USD.
The visa requirements are becoming stricter and will continue to do so, and fines are issued to people who are working in Cambodia without a visa or a work permit, and these fines will go to the employee, not the employer.
For more detailed information on Cambodian visas and work permits, please refer to our article on Moving to Cambodia.