Engage with DFAT
Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit
The Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit supports the internationalisation of Australia’s professional services sector by helping industry associations and regulators make it easier for professionals to practise overseas.
Professional services are an increasingly important component of Australia’s export economy. Consistently ranked in the top four largest services exports for Australia, professional services play an essential role in facilitating international trade and investment, and in promoting economic growth and business confidence.
Australia’s trade agreements ensure professionals like accountants, architects, engineers, lawyers, physiotherapists, vets, teachers and others have access to foreign markets. However, like in Australia, professionals practising overseas may need to meet domestic licensing, registration or other requirements that are designed to protect consumers and the public. This includes Australian professionals providing services to international clients or to Australian clients with international operations.
The Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit helps Australian professional associations and regulators make arrangements for professionals to practise internationally based on their home-country qualifications and licensing through mutual recognition agreements. It also works to address behind the border (non-tariff) barriers that place an unnecessary burden on professionals providing services internationally.
Resolving behind the border issues and the successful conclusion of mutual recognition agreements will create new opportunities to export professional services, increase the value of Australian qualifications and raise the international profile of Australian professionals.
The Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by phone on +61 2 6261 1111.
APEC Inventory of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Professional Qualifications
The APEC Inventory of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for Professional Qualifications, funded by the Australian Government, is a single source online resource of all known mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on licensing, qualifications and accreditation of professionals and skilled service providers in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region. A brochure outlining the uses of the APEC Inventory of Mutual Recognition Agreements for Professional Qualifications as well as how stakeholders and users can contribute is available on the Australian Australian APEC Studies Centre website.
APEC Digital Credential and Mutual Recognition of Professional Services online course
The APEC Digital Credential and Mutual Recognition of Professional Services online course is an for government officials and representatives from professional services competent authorities in the APEC region. The course explores current and best practice in the use of digital credentials to support cross-border recognition of professional service practitioners. For information, including how to register for the course, please refer to the Australian APEC Studies Centre website.
APEC Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Community of Practice
The APEC Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Community of Practice supports those within APEC economies who are working on the development and implementation of MRAs for professional services. The Community of Practice is an informal, non-decision making forum within which the practical opportunities and challenges arising from the development and implementation of MRAs can be shared and discussed amongst peers. For further information, please refer to the Australian APEC Studies Centre website.
APEC Mutual Recognition Agreements Toolkit: A Practical Resource to Support Professional Services Mutual Recognition
The APEC Mutual Recognition Agreements Toolkit provides practical, non-prescriptive guidance for the development and implementation of MRAs to streamline the recognition of professional qualifications and licensing processes. The MRA Toolkit provides guidance on the following topics:
- Understanding mutual recognition: key concepts and definitions
- Approaching MRAs: common barriers and how to overcome them
- Preparing for a MRA: Factors to consider in the home economy
- Assessing equivalency of standards: key principles and best practices
- Choosing an instrument: different kinds of agreement
- Building a MRA: the common elements of a MRA
- Negotiating a MRA: Process and pointers
- Implementing and reviewing a MRA
The MRA Toolkit is available on the APEC website.
Guidelines for Mutual Recognition Agreements or Arrangements for Professional Services
Parties to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (‘CPTPP’) have developed non-binding, voluntary Guidelines for Mutual Recognition Agreements or Arrangements for Professional Services. The Guidelines provide practical guidance for relevant bodies or authorities or other entities entering into mutual recognition negotiations for regulated professional services.