E.g., 10/01/2023
E.g., 10/01/2023
Recognizing Foreign Qualifications: Emerging Global Trends
July 2013

Recognizing Foreign Qualifications: Emerging Global Trends

Skilled migration can pose significant challenges for national regulators who seek to maintain occupational standards while accommodating new patterns of mobility and facilitating the use of immigrants’ skills. Traditionally, host countries have required foreign-trained workers to undergo a long, complex, and often expensive credential assessment process before gaining full rights to practice the regulated occupations there. But with the rise of temporary or provisional migration flows, more flexible pathways into regulated occupations have become increasingly attractive for governments, employers, and individual migrants.  

This report examines the qualifications assessment process for foreign workers in regulated occupations and identifies several emerging policies and trends driven in part by industry and employers. These include a push towards global qualifications in some fields, as well as partial or conditional recognition of foreign qualifications in others.

Global qualifications have emerged in industries such as accounting, engineering, and geology that aim to transcend country-specific credentials and qualify their holders (perhaps with some additional local training) to work in a range of locations. At the same time, a growing international trade in services has made it easier for transnational companies and individuals working online to circumvent traditional licensing and registration requirements.

Many governments have actively facilitated the use of partial or limited recognition to make pathways to practice more flexible. Where such partial recognition has been used to simplify requirements, it appears to have been successful in attracting skilled migrants.  The report finds that these new ways to recognize qualifications have the potential to facilitate the flow of goods and services, enhance efficiency and reduce the level of skills wastage.

Governments and regulators must pay careful attention to these evolving tools, including their potential to bring their own regulatory systems into line with the modern labor market. 

Table of Contents 

I. The Changing Global Context of Qualification Recognition

II. New Approaches to Recognizing Professional Qualifications

A. Partial or Conditional Recognition of Qualifications

B. Fast-Track Medical Registration in Australia

C. Reciprocal Recognition Agreements for Engineers

D. Corporate Qualifications for Global Practice: The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

E.  Mining Industry Recognition of “Competent Persons” for Global Stock Exchange Listing of Resource Finds

III.  Conclusion: The Incentives and Limits of New Recognition Models