Mutual recognition

To work in some occupations individuals need to be registered and/or hold a license in the state or territory where they wish to work.

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The Part 3 of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (MRA) establishes a national framework for the operation of the mutual recognition of occupations in Australia. It is underpinned by state based mutual recognition laws.

Each state and territory is responsible for deciding which occupations require a registration or licence and any associated conditions. Mutual recognition (MR) allows a registration or licence holder in one state or territory to receive another registration or licence in a second jurisdiction for an equivalent occupation.

To obtain a second state or territory licence or registration under MR a worker must: apply to the local registration authority in the state or territory; provide detailed information and prove they are registered or licensed in another jurisdiction; and pay an application fee. For example, a licensed builder from Victoria, who wants to work in southern New South Wales will approach the NSW Fair Trading to seek mutual recognition.

The Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations has no role registering or licensing occupations, or altering any decisions made by a state or territory.

Automatic mutual recognition

Part 3A of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 sets out the ‘automatic deemed registration’ process by which a worker who is licenced or registered in an eligible occupation in one jurisdiction can be considered registered to perform the same activities in another jurisdiction, without further application processes or fees. This is available in all states except Queensland. Queensland is not currently participating in the Automatic Mutual Recognition Scheme.

Workers must hold and maintain a registration or licence in their home state or territory that covers the work they intend to carry out in the second state or territory. They must also comply with all laws when working in the second state.

State and territory governments have exempted a range of occupations where they have concerns about the safety of workers and the community. In some instances, state and territory governments require a worker to notify an intention to work in their state.

It is therefore essential that anyone looking to work in another state or territory gets in touch with the “local registration authority” in that state or territory, to confirm their eligibility.

Trans-Tasman mutual recognition

The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition arrangement allows a person who holds a registration or license in Australia (at state, territory and national levels) or New Zealand to receive another registration or license in the other country after they have notified the local registration authority and paid any applicable fees.

Further information

Further information on the mutual recognition of occupations can be found on the frequently asked questions page or by contacting the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations at mutualrecognition@dewr.gov.au.

Further information on automatic mutual recognition, known as automatic deemed registration in the MRA, is available at the following state and territory pages:

Information in relation to the mutual recognition of goods is available from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources by emailing TradeFacilitation@industry.gov.au.