Guntur Sugiyarto is a Senior Economist in the Economics and Research Department at the Asian Development Bank.
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While it has been years since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations signed accords to facilitate the movement of professionals in seven occupations, implementation of these Mutual Recognition Arrangements remains "painfully slow and uneven across countries." This final report in an MPI-Asian Development Bank series explores MRA implementation by sector, and offers recommendations to help achieve the goal of greater skill mobility in Southeast Asia.
Given diverging demographics, rising educational attainment and wide variation in economic opportunities, countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are poised to see an expansion of both the demand for and supply of skilled migrants willing and able to move. The convergence of these megatrends represents unique opportunities for human-capital development and brain circulation, as this report explores.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Member States have approved Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) in the tourism sector and in six regulated occupations to ease the movement of professionals within the region. This report compares the approaches taken to facilitate mutual recognition of qualifications within the region, the factors that shaped each MRA approach, and their tradeoffs and policy implications.
This report by MPI and the Asian Development Bank lays out a realistic roadmap toward freer movement among skilled professionals within the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), encouraging cooperation among ASEAN Member States in recognizing foreign qualifications and making government investments in training and educations systems that prepare workers in accordance with common standards.