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> MIGRANT Home > Good practices database - Labour migration policies and programmes > Recognition of skills and labour mobility in ASEAN

Recognition of skills and labour mobility in ASEAN

  • Responsible Organisations: International Labour Organization (ILO) (International Organisation); ASEAN - Australia - New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA)
  • ILO Regions: Asia and the Pacific
  • Country(ies): Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Myanmar; New Zealand; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Viet Nam
  • Thematic areas: Policy coherence; Regional labour mobility
  • MLFLM: 1.(a),(b); 2.; 4.; 5.; 7.; 12.; 15.


At the 12th ASEAN Summit in January 2007, the ASEAN leaders affirmed their strong commitment to accelerating the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015 and to transforming ASEAN into a region with free movement of goods, services, investments, skilled labour, and freer flow of capital. The development of a 'mutually recognised skills framework' is critical for achieving the free movement of skilled and low-skilled labour within ASEAN. In May 2010, a joint ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand task force developed ASEAN Qualifications Reference Framework (AQRF) as the mechanism to benchmark national qualifications frameworks into mutually comparable regional standards. Eight levels of competencies were designed under the framework and these competencies have been agreed among all ASEAN Member States. The AQRF is voluntary. It consists of two labour mobility tools: Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs), which facilitate the mobility of skilled professionals in ASEAN (higher levels of the AQRF); and Mutual Recognition of Skills (MRS), which focuses on technical/vocational skills (AQRF level 1-4). To implement the tool on MRS, the ILO has collaborated with the ASEAN Member States (AMS) in developing the policy outcomes (e.g. action plans) and assisting them in addressing mutual skills recognition nationally and regionally in selected occupations.


last updated on 05.05.2015^ top