It is common in Cambodia that travelers who at first came for some weeks, extended the visa to stay a bit more. Then months after month the ex-traveler notices that is indeed living in Cambodia and doesn’t want to leave. (True story for the one writing this!) Cambodia is, in fact, a very easy country to live and find work in. The cost of living is still relatively low while the opportunities increase. With a rising economy and a vibrant non-profit sector, working in Cambodia in companies or NGOs is easy. Alternatively, if your English language skills are good, a variety of schools have teaching positions available.
Following the article last week about the different visas and how to get them, we continue this series about living in Cambodia with some info about working in the kingdom.
Phnom Penh is one of the capitals in Southeast Asia developing faster, with many opportunities rising in different sectors.
First, make sure you read all about the visa in our previous article about living in Cambodia, including the different sub-types, such as the ones adequate for business or entrepreneurs, people looking for job, etc.
Focusing on job search, the easiest way is to hang out with people of the sector of your interest. Many connections in Phnom Penh come from word of mouth and social relationships are crucial for that. In the meantime, check some of the websites with job vacancies, like Bongthom, Khmer24 or Khmeradz.
For volunteering, have a look at the online platforms focused on social and non-profit sectors, such as Idealist. Just reflect on the impact you will have on the people, especially if children are involved. In fact many of the short-term volunteering opportunities are actually proven to do more harm than good. For more on this topic you can read this article on the Guardian about volunteering and the orphanage industry in Siem Reap.
One detail to take into consideration is not to “steal” it from a local person. It is better to find jobs requiring skills that are still not available locally and help the country to develop!
One of the most typical jobs for a foreigner is teaching English in local schools. Usually you don’t need certificates or teaching experience, but you are still influencing the children’s education and having an English language certificate will definitely raise your chances of a better salary. If your skills allow you to teach something different maybe it is more adequate for you and helpful for the locas. They will need more a teacher of computer literacy or other specific vocational training than another English teacher!
Other thing to pay attention to is the work permit. The cost is 130 dollars for this year. Last year it was 100 dollars and, in case you were already working here, they will charge that as well. In addition you will have to pay 30 dollars for the medical paperwork. More info here, where you can also register yourself if needed.
In case you are a freelance, have a look at our article on available coworking spaces.
Opening your own business is an option as well: a shop, bar/restaurant or something more “serious”. You have to register it, get your taxes right and an employee quota registration (check the government website for more info). There are some good news though: Cambodia is one of the few countries where foreigners can own their business, even without a local partner. However, a Khmer person that helps you out with the paper work is recommended, especially if your tolerance to bureaucracy is low!
In case you want to open your own businesses, besides the obvious rules there are some little ones to remember. For example, the name of the company has to be translated in Khmer and displayed above the English name.
We hope to have clarified some of the common doubts about living and working in Cambodia. If you are traveling by and thinking of staying longer, go for it! You will enjoy the relaxed Khmer lifestyle, contributing to the growth of the country.