Australian architects are set to enjoy greater access to the United Kingdoms’ $A300 billion construction market following the announcement of an in-principle free trade agreement and moves to create mutual recognition of each country’s architecture qualifications.
As the United Kingdom and Australia announced an in-principle agreement on core elements of a Free Trade Deal, the Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (AACA) says it is in the final stages of negotiating a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) with its counterparts in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The agreement will help registered architects within each country to practice across the three nations.
Under the agreement, architects who are registered in any one of the countries will have their credentials recognised when seeking registration within the other two nations.
For architects, the agreement once finalised will open up significant opportunities.
According to Statista.com, the value of construction output across the UK amounted to £159.5 billion pounds ($A293.7 billion) in calendar 2019.
AACA CEO Kathlyn Loseby says the importance of the agreement should not be understated.
“While COVID-19 has put a halt temporarily to international travel and migration, we are forging ahead with this MRA so that when Australia’s borders re-open both our architects and our communities here will be poised to benefit from a much more straightforward skills recognition process,” Loseby said.
“Architects are among the most highly qualified professionals alongside the legal and medical fraternities. Architecture is also one of the professions that benefits most from collaboration.
“Recognising architects’ credentials globally will literally open up a whole new world of tremendous opportunities to transform the lived experience of our built environment.”
The agreement is being negotiated with authorisation from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
It is due to be concluded early in 2022.
Australia’s architecture profession currently has mutual recognition agreements which cover Japan, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand and around 30 individual states in the US.
Loseby’s statement follows Tuesday’s announcement from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the UK and Australia had reached an in-principal Free Trade Agreement.
According to that agreement, the final FTA will contain provisions that will enable professionals from both nations who want to work in each other’s territory to have their qualifications recognised without facing unnecessary cost and bureaucracy.
The agreement recognises that this will occur through collaboration between regulatory and accreditation bodies from both nations which will facilitate the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
Speaking of the broader trade deal, Loseby the deepening of ties with one of Australia’s closest allies and trading partners will help to pave the way for further measures that will capitalise on the benefits for professionals in both nations.
“We congratulate both the Australian and UK governments on reaching this important agreement and thank DFAT for the inclusive and constructive role they have facilitated for us as part of this process,” she said.
“In addition to the substantial benefits trade liberalisation will deliver for both producers and consumers, the FTA also opens up critical opportunities for a range of professionals, including architects.
“This new arrangement enhances the global exchange of skills, expertise, collaboration and employment opportunities – something we have not had with the UK for decades.”