Making Mutual Recognition Agreements Work

CAA online event considers the role of MRAs in helping to raise competencies.


Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA’s) enable architects from one country to work seamlessly in another. The CAA hosted an online event on 07 November 2023 to consider the ways in which such MRAs work with reference to the recent agreement that has been signed between the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Participants also heard perspectives from other Commonwealth regions, including East Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Contributors also reflected on some of the challenges and opportunities such agreements create.


The event included contributions from the following:

Event outline

  1. Unpacking the UK, Australia, New Zealand MRA. Kathlyn Loseby and Emma Matthews outlined how the tripartite MRA between the UK, Australia and New Zealand had been developed and how it operates in practice.
  2. East African perspective. Marylyn Musyimi, explained the MRA which has been established within the East Africa Common Market.
  3. Caribbean perspective. Gary Turton outlined the decade-long effort to develop an MRA among members of CARICOM.
  4. Pacific perspective, focused on the need to build local capacity.
  5. Panel discussion and Q&A. Following a series of short framing presentations, the panel responded to a series of questions and were joined by Mr Arjuna Nadaraja, Director, Professional Services and Mutual Recognition Unit & FTA Services Market Access Section at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who outlined their recently published Mutual Recognition Toolkit.
CAA online event on Making Mutual Recognition Agreements Work.

Lessons learnt

  • Architecture is a regulated profession in the majority of Commonwealth countries.
  • Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) facilitate professional mobility and ease of doing business.
  • They’re predicated on the principal of equivalency which derives from a shared understanding of the competencies required (ie knowledge, skills and values) and includes procedures for adjusting to local context in terms of custom and practice.
  • Facilitating such cross-border trade is one way of helping to address the capacity gap while promoting knowledge sharing.
  • But it’s vital for those working overseas to understand local culture and climate to ensure that their work is appropriate for its context, and that every opportunity is taken to help build local capacity, especially in the context of countries in receipt of Overseas Development Assistance.
  • Data collected by the CAA has highlighted that there is a great deal of inconsistency in the way in which criteria and competencies are defined from one country to another.
  • The development of MRA’s can be used as a vehicle to help drive the development of criteria and raise competencies.