Foreign Architects, Engineers Given Ultimatum

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The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction plans to take drastic action, with possible deportation, against foreign architects and engineers who are not registered with the ministry through Cambodia’s professional body of architects, said a top ministry official yesterday.

foreign architects engineers register
The construction sector is predicted to maintain strong growth throughout the rest of 2017. KHMER TIMES / SOTH SOPHARY

Phuoeng Sophean, secretary of state of the Ministry and general director of the Board of Architects Cambodia, said the action was necessary because a large number of foreign architects and engineers were working in the country without being professionally registered.

“They are taking away jobs from professionally qualified Cambodians,” said Sophean at the Cambuild’17 Expo and the Cambodia Architects Forum. “The Land Management Minister is interested in the development of the construction sector and recently he ordered all architects and engineers working in Cambodia to be registered with the Board of Architects, so that they in turn could be registered legally with the Ministry. This is a requirement if they want to work professionally in the country – either working for the corporate sector or setting up their own business.”

Sophean said the ministry had measures in place to conduct spot checks on construction sites to ensure engineers and architects were properly registered to work in the country. “If any company, especially foreign ones, disobeys the ministry’s order, we will not hesitate to take action,” he added.

Sophean said one possible action was deportation and his ministry was discussing this with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the immigration department. “The Minister will cooperate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take diplomatic action to send them back. Such action is needed to create jobs for local architects and engineers,” he noted.

Tous Saphoeun, dean of the architecture and urban planning faculty at Pannasastra University, said such action was needed to strengthen the professional code of conduct of architects and engineers in the country, giving more opportunities for Cambodian architects and engineers. “This directive from the ministry is not only for foreigners, but also for locals. It is the duty of architects and engineers to get themselves registered with the professional body representing them before they start working or opening up a consultancy or business,” said Saphoeun.

Minister of Land Management Chea Sophara forecasted in April that the construction sector is capable of maintaining strong growth throughout the rest of 2017. “Consistent with this growth in the construction sector, which has been registered with the Land Ministry, we saw an increase of 1,000 companies including 41 design companies and 959 construction companies,” he said. “Across the country, this amounts to 2,435 architects and 30,000 engineers. It creates from 190,000 to 200,000 jobs per day.”

The Ministry meanwhile registered 1,006 licensed design and construction companies in the first half of the year, including 40 planning design companies and 966 construction companies. Among them were 408 foreign companies.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.

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