Objective 1.1

Ease of movement of people, capital, services and data across borders

Action 1.1L

Government and industry will jointly increase the international mobility of professionals with key export markets by establishing mutual recognition arrangements of professional licensing and registration, and pathways for foreign professionals to practice for a limited time or in a limited capacity.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Government response
Related Action/s

Continue to pursue the recognition of Australian qualifications and professional recognition overseas, and in-demand foreign qualifications in Australia.


Relevant Australian regulators and industry associations should work with counterparts in key markets to develop a special category of professional recognition to allow international professionals to practice aspects of their profession in the host-country.


Progress to date

Australia continues to include professional services specific chapters or annexes in free trade agreements to provide an ongoing facilitative mechanism for regulators and industry associations to work with counterparts to:

  • develop temporary, limited or project-specific licensing or registration regime for professionals; and
  • negotiate and implement mutual recognition agreements.

This includes efforts in free trade agreements under negotiation, such as with the United Kingdom and the European Union, as well as efforts to build on existing agreements, such as the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

The Agreement in Principle between Australian and United Kingdom governments on 17 June 2021 outlined professional services provisions, which will deliver long term benefits for UK and Australian professionals who want to work in each other's territory and have their qualifications recognised without facing unnecessary cost and bureaucracy, primarily through collaboration between UK and Australian accreditation and regulatory bodies aimed at facilitating qualification recognition.

During the eleventh negotiating round between Australia and the European Union on 1-11 June 2021, the mutual recognition and professional services chapter was provisionally closed. The Chapter includes a framework for the mutual recognition of professional services qualifications between Australia and the European Union.

At the first meeting of the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement Joint Commission on 24 June 2021, the Parties agreed to consider establishing a professional services subsidiary body to the Joint Commission and will conduct stakeholder consultations and begin work on possible Terms of Reference for consideration.

Australia has at least 57 mutual recognition agreements of professional qualifications, licensing or registration that are active across 19 countries and seven professions. Of those agreements, 19 were finalised since the establishment of DFAT’s Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit in 2016, including in three new markets. This includes an an agreement signed in May 2021 between the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

More information on Australia’s mutual recognition agreements can be found through the Australia-funded APEC Professional and Skilled Services Gateway.

Australia is funding two Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation(APEC)projects on improving professional mobility.

The APEC Professional and Skilled Services Gateway provides an inventory of all known mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) on licensing, qualifications and accreditation of professionals and skilled service providers in APEC economies. Listing 178 agreements, it is the most comprehensive database of mutual recognition agreements. For individuals and firms, the inventory provides a simple means of identifying MRAs that could better facilitate their work across borders. For governments and recognition bodies the inventory provides an overview of all agreements in place, which can assist in the prioritisation and development of future agreements as well as aiding in benchmarking current practice.

The APEC Mutual Recognition Online Workshops on Digital Credentialing of Professional and Skilled Services Providers project explores current and best practice in the use of digital credentials to support cross-border recognition of professional service practitioners. Through two webinars, workshop participants have been provided tools to assess readiness of an economy for implementing the increased use of digital credentials. An online pilot training course has been developed and is expected to be delivered over the next 12 months and beyond.

The $81.5 million Cyber Security National Workforce Growth Program is developing the cyber security skills Australia requires now, while also creating the cyber workforce pipeline we need into the future. These objectives are being achieved through multiple initiatives, including the Cyber Security Skills Partnerships Innovation Fund (the Fund).

The $70.3 million Fund supports industry and education providers to work together to promote career pathways, training, apprenticeships and internships to attract diverse people to cyber security careers. Eight successful projects have been awarded funding through Round 1 of the Program. Funding for a second round was announced under the Digital Economy Strategy in the 2021-22 Budget and is expected to open later in 2021. 

The Program is also supporting growth in the pipeline of cyber security professionals through initiatives including an expansion of Questacon's science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs for school students and teachers to include cyber security.