Research Library

Foreign Qualifications

An authorising body will normally look at the level of equivalence in the foreign qualification and determine where there are deficiencies and specify what additional subjects the individual must complete before their qualifications are accepted for entry into the Australian profession.


Author(s): John Chellew, Belle Anais, Katherine Chow and Francesca Mendoza

This title looks at the way in which professions in Australia take into account foreign qualifications when considering a foreign applicant for entry into a profession. The authorising body that admits or registers a professional, may be a statutory body, an associated private body or a professional association. It will normally give some level of credit towards a foreign qualification based on how similar the foreign qualification is to Australian requirements. There are situations, however, where an Australian body can approve the authorising body of a foreign jurisdiction so that the degrees or training that body approves will generally be accepted by the Australian body. For education and training received in New Zealand, some Australian authorising bodies automatically accept that education and training as equivalent to Australian requirements given the close historical and cultural ties between the two countries.

Where there are areas lacking in the foreign qualification, the Australian authorising body will normally require the application complete additional subjects. The body may also have discretion to exempt certain individuals with extensive experience, although the authorisation may limit the person to practicing in their area of expertise. In some circumstances, the government may be willing reduce requirements to achieve the policy objective of increasing foreign professionals in an area of need, such as a remote region where it may be difficult to entice Australian professionals to work.

The title discusses the following issues:

  • Automatic approval for special foreign jurisdictions
  • Recognition of foreign education;
  • ‘Topping-up’ foreign qualifications;
  • Recognition of foreign practical training;
  • Exemptions for experienced foreign professionals;
  • Other admission requirements; and
  • Focused-needs exemptions.


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