- General Mackevili
- The General
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- Location: The Kingdom
"Look at any Cambodian online forum will uncover a plethora of visa overstayers pleading for a solution to their predicament."
^ Ha! A "plethora"? Give me a break! ! !
Cambodia has seen a boom in tourism in recent years that has brought a steady flow of tourist dollars to a grateful government. Arrivals totaled 2.2 million during the first half of 2014, up five percent on last year’s figures for the same period.
It is inevitable that some travelers will find cracks and take advantage of the perceived lax enforcement of Cambodia’s visa system.
A look at any Cambodian online forum will uncover a plethora of visa overstayers pleading for a solution to their predicament.
They range from the careless tourist overstay a week and was getting away with a daily fine of $5, to the shirker owing the immigration office over $2,500 for an 18-month overstay.
A business visa – now known as the ordinary visa – gives bearers the ability to renew their visa indefinitely without leaving the country. A one-month visa is available for $25, but set to rise to $35 in October - still a relatively small amount when compared with many other countries.
A few months of overstaying on a visa quickly builds up. This was the predicament that James (not his real name), from Scotland, found himself in.
Battling depression, he fueled it with the cheap alcohol in Cambodia after arriving on a tourist visa. The Scottish boozer spent the majority of his time and money at riverside bars.
By the time he straightened out, he had overstayed his visa by seven months. The fine would be over $1,000, money he didn’t have. He is now working to claw together the money from friends and family to pay the fine, while surviving on a minimal amount.
Repeated requests for figures from the Ministry of Tourism were met with a wall of silence. This is likely due to the lucrative nature of the Cambodian enforcement procedure.
A fine can often be negotiated down to a lesser amount, especially at the border crossings. It is a solution that many opt to try.
Joe not his real name, is in his 60’s. The British national came to Cambodia in January after the breakup of his marriage and the diagnosis of a terminal illness.
“I’m here to spend my pension on the things I love, and that’s women and cheap beer.”
He added that much of his savings went to helping orphanages and charities in Cambodia.
Carl not his real name), 22, also from England said his job in London left him unable to afford a basic standard of living. He was eventually evicted from his London flat after defaulting on rent.
“I lived in a shack in London for which I paid $1500 a month for, and I only earned $2000. Here I earn half that, and it still covers everything and more, plus the weather is nicer,” he said. “I also had dreams of travelling to Asia and I’m doing that.”
Joe said he spent a lot of time in Thailand, but visa rules for foreigners there have become more stringent. He currently owes.....
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They DO actually have a comprehensive database of Visa Numbers (and expiration dates) and the passport numbers they're attached to. Currently that's sort of useless for tracking down an overstayer, because it relies on guesthouses to turn in what is called the "White Form" and make sure it's filled out properly, then someone else to either search all of these documents or enter it into a computer. Neither of which happen. It also doesn't show check-out date, so a person moving a lot will be pretty hard to find with a lot of wild goose chases.
HOWEVER... like the work permits, this is soon to change. The information will be entered digitally at the guest houses at check in, and anyone overstaying will flag immediately with the immigration ministry. An overstayer checking into a guesthouse will be able to expect police to arrive within the hour. Upside, anyone overstaying on accident will be immediately notified and a small fine handed out. Downside, anyone not having the visa renewal money at that time will be screwed.
The arrests they've done for it makes it seem otherwise. A lot of people who no longer end up needing their passport for anything. People who don't move and don't really do much else. Fair number of Russians this way down here in snooky. Most it seems just forgot to renew it, realized it a lot of money later and said "fuck it" thinking it would never really be enforced.0to60 wrote:My guess is that the majority of overstayers are living in the street and lost or sold their passport long ago for a bit of food money.
1. a person who illegally remains in a country after the period of the permitted visit has expired
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
a poverty of overstayers
Speaking of which, haven't seen Steve the Scammer for a while... is he around?0to60 wrote:My guess is that the majority of overstayers are living in the street and lost or sold their passport long ago for a bit of food money.
Nice!indigo_design wrote:a poverty of overstayers
Got a new PP last year but still had 2 mths left on my 12 mth visa in my old PP when I flew back into PNH, but forgot to carry my old PP with me so purchased a new ordinary visa. When I went through immigration, the officer asked me why I paid for a new visa since I still had 2 months left. So obviously they do have a comprehensive system in place, because even with my new passport, which has a new number, they knew that I still had a valid visa...I was very surprised! (I hope that all makes sense )OrangeDragon wrote:Some information I've come across for a software package I'm working on:
They DO actually have a comprehensive database of Visa Numbers (and expiration dates) and the passport numbers they're attached to.
I hope they really do start cracking down on overstayers, there really is no excuse for long term overstayers, the visas are cheap and easy to get and if you can't afford it then you shouldn't be here.
So will they also collect data from Khmer' ID cards when people stay? Should be easy to track drivers of government plated vehicles that are, ahem, at a guest house when they should be running the country.
I think I may know the Scotsman, certainly one that was in a similar predicament but hadn't been caught when I last saw him some months ago.
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