The Architects Accreditation Council (AACA) has voiced its approval following the signing of the free trade agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom that was reached in December 2021. 

A number of benefits will now be on offer for Australian architects, such as the ability to enhance skills, work collaboratively or easily work overseas.

AACA CEO, Kathlyn Loseby, says she is delighted that the agreement has come to fruition. 

“We congratulate both the Australian and UK governments on signing this important agreement and thank the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for the inclusive and constructive role they have facilitated for us as part of this process,” she says.

“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.

“Under the terms of the FTA, professionals will benefit from provisions to support mutual recognition of qualifications and greater certainty for skilled professionals entering each of our respective labour markets.

“This arrangement enhances the global exchange of skills, expertise, collaboration and employment opportunities – something we have not had with the UK for decades.

“The AACA, with DFAT’s authorisation, is in the final stages of negotiating a Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) that will ‘recognise the professional credentials of architects registered in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand’ and ‘ support their mobility by creating the opportunity to practise beyond their borders’.”

The MRA, currently in the works, will ‘facilitate the registration of an architect registered in the United Kingdom as an Australian architect or New Zealand architect; and the registration of an Australian architect or New Zealand architect as an architect in the United Kingdom.’

Instigated under the leadership of former AACA CEO Kate Doyle, the MRA is the culmination of years of engagement work with the New Zealand and United Kingdom Architects Registration Boards.

“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 says.

“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 MRA is expected to be completed by mid 2022.


Image: Birmingham's Curzon Wharf by UK-based practice Associated Architects.