Cambodia brings in new retirement visa

Published:  29 Jul at 6 PM
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Cambodia’s popularity as a destination for working as well as retiring expats has soared over the past two years, with many new arrivals having first spent some years in neighbouring Thailand.

Today’s announcement is expected to ramp up the numbers of new arrivals still further. The country’s present visa regime is straightforward in that expats must get the so-called business visa, which allows a year’s stay and gives permission to work, volunteer or start a business should the holder wish. Annual renewals are allowed, and most expat residents seem happy with the arrangement whether they’re working or in retirement.

The new scheme is aimed at retirees who don’t need the work permit part of the existing annual visa. Applicants will need to prove they are financially secure and must also provide documentation from their home country proving their retiree status. According to Cambodia’s immigration chief Major-General Veasna, the new Category ER visa will allow expats to live in Cambodia provided they can support themselves. He added that expats already settled in the country will be able to transfer to the new visa should they wish, but emphasised it’s their option.

Although the new visas were expected to be available from next Monday, there will be a delay due to the necessity of informing the foreign embassies of the change. At the present time, there’s no information about the cost of the new visa, but it’s expected to generate a lot of interest amongst retirees in Thailand as well as senior citizens wishing to relocate from the West.

Since 2014, retired expats living in Thailand have been moving across the border to Cambodia due to changes brought on by the military government and a perceived risk of civil unrest in the future. Another reason has been fear of a clampdown on holders of the Thai retirement visa who’ve been volunteering with various groups supporting local hill tribes and other local people in need of help. Doing even unpaid work is forbidden to those on Thai retirement visas, a controversial rule which is generally disliked.
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