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Business Envoy February 2022

Professional mobility across borders – Mutual recognition agreements

Professional services are an increasingly important component of Australia's export economy. Mutual recognition agreements (MRAs), negotiated between professional associations, accreditation bodies and regulators, streamline professional practice requirements between Australia and counterpart countries. Where MRAs are agreed it is easier for professionals to practise in each others' jurisdictions based on their existing qualifications and licensing.

Australia's trade agreements ensure professionals like architects, lawyers, physiotherapists and others have access to foreign markets. However, professionals practising overseas may need to meet licensing, registration or other requirements that are designed to protect consumers. This includes Australian professionals providing services to international clients or to Australian clients with international operations. MRAs reduce costs and time periods associated with license or registration processes while maintaining professional standards.

Australia's engineers are just one profession using MRAs.

Engineering is truly a global profession. The engineering profession benefits from international benchmarked competency standards that facilitate mobility of professional engineers and supports the maintenance of high standards of practice. MRAs facilitate the mobility of engineers through recognition of the Australian Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) credential. This credential provides evidence that an engineer has met the independent practice competence standard and has an ongoing commitment to continuing professional development and our Code of Ethics.

Jane MacMaster, Chief Engineer, Engineers Australia

For more information on how a MRA could benefit your profession, contact DFAT's Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit.

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