Mutual recognition

To work in some occupations, individuals need to be registered and/or hold a licence in the jurisdiction they wish to work. For example, to work as an electrician you need to be licenced for that occupation. In Australia, each state and territory administers and issues its own occupational licences. Each jurisdiction differs in what occupations they choose to licence and what types of licences are available.

Mutual recognition is the principle that a person who has been licenced or registered in one state or territory, can apply to be licenced or registered in another state or territory for an equivalent occupation. It is supported by the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (MRA). A mutual recognition arrangement between Australia and New Zealand also exists and is underpinned by the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (TTMRA).

A person who wishes to request mutual recognition of a licence they currently hold needs to lodge an application with the local registration authority in the state or territory they wish to work in. The local registration authority will assess the licence and determine if the licence currently held and the occupation it covers, is equivalent to the occupation for which a new licence has been requested.

For example, a person who is licensed and registered as a panel beater in ACT who wishes to work in NSW will need to lodge an application with the NSW local registration authority to have a NSW licence issued. The NSW local registration authority will consider the ACT licence and assess whether the person is eligible for an equivalent NSW panel beater licence. If they determine the occupations are equivalent, the person can be registered and issued a panel beater licence in NSW.

This is not an automatic process – individuals must apply for recognition of their existing licence/s and pay any applicable fees.

To apply for mutual recognition of your occupational licence or registration, please contact the registration authority for your occupation in the state or territory you are seeking a licence.

States and territories have authority for all licencing issues, including the assessment and decision to issue licences. They may also place conditions on a licence.

The department has no authority to issue, review, or assess occupational licences or the decisions made by a state or territory.

If you are seeking information about the mutual recognition of goods please contact the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

Further information

More detailed information about mutual recognition of licenced/registered occupations can be found on the mutual recognition FAQs page.


Mutual recognition of occupations
Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Mutual recognition of goods
Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources