International Mutual Recognition of Engineers

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					International Mutual Recognition

                                                                                                        `B E Y O N D B R A I N D R A I N ’ - M O B I L I T Y, C O M P E T I T I V E N E S S & S C I E N T I F I C E X C E L L E N C E
of Engineers
Alec J. Hay, Chair of the Engineers Mobility Forum
in collaboration with
Peter Greenwood, Chair of the Washington Accord

General Background                                    majority of countries divide the development
                                                      of an engineering professional into two
The recognition of engineering qualifications on
an international basis is a subject with a long       •     Programme for an Academic
history. As far back as the turn of the last                Qualification; and
century, there was some form of acceptance of
certain types of professional qualifications. But     •     Professional Development and
in general the recognition issue was not                    Registration
pursued with any vigour by the profession.
                                                      Two major groupings have emerged from the
In the early sixties, with more movement of           above, each handling one of the phases.
professionally qualified people from one
country to another, it became quite common for        Agreements Developed
bilateral agreements to be signed between two
professional institutions from different countries,   for Recognition of the
where some form of mutual recognition was
covered.                                              Academic Phase
Although this did not apply to all countries, in      Washington Accord
attempting to improve the status of engineers,
the process of registering or licensing of            •     Background to the Establishment
engineers became more prevalent also in the                 of the Washington Accord
early sixties, where engineers were held
accountable for their actions and the focus was       The existence of many bilateral agreements
put on public health and safety.                      prompted six countries in 1988 to meet and to
                                                      develop the original Washington Accord,
Apart therefore from restrictions to mobility         known then as the Six Nation Accord, which
placed by governments through immigration             was signed in 1989.
controls, the mobility of engineers has always
been fairly restricted by the profession itself.      This was effectively the first major attempt to
This is understandable as standards vary              establish a benchmark for not only the level
enormously worldwide.                                 and content of the degree for engineers but
                                                      also the accreditation process. A new version
Introduction to Current                               of the Washington Accord agreement was
                                                      concluded in 1997 in further support of these
Initiatives for the Mutual                            latter issues.

Recognition of Engineers                              •     The Agreement

                                                      The purpose of the Accord is recognition of the
Over the last decade, with the international
                                                      equivalence of accredited engineering
discussions that have taken place for the
                                                      education programs leading to the engineering
recognition of practitioners in the engineering
profession, generally it is evident that the

degree and is applicable only to engineers. It            Malaysia - Board of Engineers
is essentially a quality assurance process and            Malaysia (BEM) - 2003
is based on world best practice.
                                                          Singapore - The Institution of
Briefly, the Accord has the following basic               Engineers, Singapore (IES) - 2003
terms of agreement:
                                                          Germany - Accreditation Agency for
The signatories:                                          Study Programmes in Engineering and
                                                          Informatics (ASIIN) - 2003
•     Accept that accreditation procedures are
      comparable;                                   The present Chair is provided by IEAust, Dr
                                                    Peter Greenwood, and the Secretariat provided
•     Accept one another’s accredited               by ABET.
      degrees from the date of admission as a
      Full Member;
                                                    Academic Agreements for
•     Agree to identify and encourage
      implementation of best practice;              Recognition of other
•     Accept mutual monitoring;                     Members of the
•     Accept that it applies to accreditations in   Engineering Team
      home jurisdictions only; and
                                                    Flowing from the Washington Accord, a similar
•     Accept the need to encourage licensing        agreement was developed for Engineering
      and registration authorities to apply the     Technologists or Incorporated Engineers, called
      agreement.                                    the Sydney Accord, which was signed in
                                                    2001. The signatories to this agreement are:
•     Membership
                                                          Australia – The Institution of Engineers,
      The Full Members are:                               Australia (IEAust)
      Australia – The Institution of Engineers,           Canada – The Canadian Council for
      Australia (IEAust) - 1989                           Technicians and Technologists (CCTT)
      Canada – The Canadian Council of                    Ireland - The Institution of Engineers of
      Professional Engineers (CCPE) - 1989                Ireland (IEI)
      Ireland - The Institution of Engineers of           New Zealand - The Institution of
      Ireland (IEI) - 1989                                Professional Engineers, New Zealand
      New Zealand - The Institution of                    (IPENZ)
      Professional Engineers, New Zealand                 United Kingdom - The Engineering
      (IPENZ) - 1989                                      Council, United Kingdom (EC(UK))
      United Kingdom - The Engineering                    South Africa - The Engineering Council
      Council, United Kingdom (EC(UK)) -                  of South Africa (ECSA)
                                                          Hong Kong, China - The Hong Kong
      United States of America - The                      Institution of Engineers (HKIE)
      Accreditation Board for Engineering and
      Technology (ABET) - 1989

      South Africa - The Engineering Council        The present chair is provided by EC(UK), Mr
      of South Africa (ECSA) – 1993/99              Barry Dobson, and the Secretariat provided
                                                    by ECSA.
      Hong Kong, China - The Hong Kong
      Institution of Engineers (HKIE) - 1995        An agreement has also been developed for
                                                    Engineering Technicians, called the Dublin
      The current Provisional Members are:          Accord. This Accord was signed in May 2002
      Japan - Japan Accreditation Board for         and its signatories are:
      Engineering Education (JABEE) - 2001

      Canada – The Canadian Council for            should be noted that the Washington Accord
      Technicians and Technologists (CCTT)         only accepts degrees from the date of

                                                                                                     `B E Y O N D B R A I N D R A I N ’ - M O B I L I T Y, C O M P E T I T I V E N E S S & S C I E N T I F I C E X C E L L E N C E
                                                   admission of a signatory as a Full Member and
      Ireland - The Institution of Engineers of    hence would often not be applicable to current
      Ireland (IEI)                                practicing engineers. In essence, however, the
      United Kingdom - The Engineering             academic standard remains similar to that set
                                                   for a Washington Accord accredited degree.
      Council, United Kingdom (EC(UK))

      South Africa - The Engineering Council       In terms of the total package presented by an
      of South Africa (ECSA)                       economy, the EMF may recognize degrees:

The present chair is also provided by EC(UK),            a) delivered and accredited in
                                                            accordance with the best practice
Mr Barry Dobson, and the Secretariat provided
by IEI.                                                     guidelines developed by the
                                                            Federation of Engineering Institutions
                                                            of South East Asia and the Pacific; or
Agreements Developed
                                                         b) listed in the Index compiled by the
for Recognition at the Full                                 Federation Europeenne
Professional Level                                          d’Associations Nationales
                                                            d’Ingenieurs (FEANI); or
•     Engineers Mobility Forum (EMF)                     c) an appropriate engineering degree
                                                            programme validated by –
•     Background to the Establishment
      of the EMF                                             (i) the Engineer-in-Training
                                                                 examination set by the Japan
At the Washington Accord meeting in 1995, a
                                                                 Consulting Engineers Association;
working group was set up to explore mutual
recognition for experienced engineers. This
group, known as the Hong Kong Working                        (ii) the combined Fundamentals of
Group, met in March 1996, together with                           Engineering and Principles and
observers nominated by the European                               Practices of Engineering
Federation of National Engineering                                examinations set by the United
Associations (FEANI), and, with the addition of                   States National Council of
observers from the Japan Consulting Engineers                     Examiners in Engineering and
Association, in January 1997.                                     Surveying; or
Following the report of this group, at the               d) a structured programme of
meeting of the Washington Accord                            engineering education accredited
signatories in October 1997, it was agreed                  by an agency independent of the
to establish an independent forum to be known               education provider, and/or one or
as the Engineers Mobility Forum (EMF).                      more written examinations set by an
                                                            authorised body within an economy,
At a meeting held in London in July 1998, the
                                                            provided that the accreditation
participants agreed to recommend that the
                                                            procedures and criteria and/or the
organisations that they represented consider
                                                            examination standards have been
becoming signatories to a draft Agreement to
                                                            endorsed by all current signatories.
Establish and Maintain an International Register
of Engineers. Following periods of consultation    The participants further agreed that the
in each economy, and further discussions at        revised Memorandum of Understanding, and
meetings held in Sydney, Australia in November     the revised draft of an Agreement to Establish
1999 and Vancouver, Canada in June 2000,           and Maintain an International Register of
the participants further agreed to amend the       Professional Engineers should be submitted to
original Memorandum of Understanding, which        the organisations which they represented with a
restricted membership of the EMF to                recommendation that those organisations
Washington Accord economies. This permitted        become signatories to the Agreement.
a wider range of organisations to become
Members of the Engineers Mobility Forum. It        These two agreements, having been ratified

by the governing bodies of all the                         Ireland - The Institution of Engineers of
organizations involved, were finally signed in             Ireland (October 1997)
June 2001 at Thornybush Game Reserve in
South Africa. As both these agreements were                New Zealand - The Institution of
formed through a process of development, it                Professional Engineers, New Zealand
was agreed that they be consolidated in a                  (October 1997)
single document, called the Constitution of
                                                           South Africa - The Engineering Council
the EMF, which was approved by the                         of South Africa (October 1997)
members at the meeting held in June 2003 in
Rotorua, New Zealand.                                      UK - The Engineering Council, United
                                                           Kingdom (October 1997)
In the area of independent professional
practice, the establishment of the EMF and all             USA - The United States Council for
that it represents is a major attempt to establish         International Engineering Practice
a benchmark for the level of development,                  (October 1997)
competence and professionalism required of a
practitioner, who should be acceptable                     Japan - The Institution of Professional
internationally.                                           Engineers, Japan (November 1999)

•      The Agreement                                       Malaysia - The Institution of Engineers,
                                                           Malaysia (November 1999)
The purpose of the EMF is to establish and
maintain an International Register of                      Korea - The Korean Professional
Professional Engineers.                                    Engineers Association (June 2000)

The objectives of the EMF are as follows:            The current Provisional Members are:

•      Facilitate international mobility of                Bangladesh - The Bangladesh
       professional engineers                              Professional Engineers Registration
                                                           Board (June 2003)
•      Establish a de-centralised International
       Register of Professional Engineers                  India - The Institution of Engineers
                                                           (India) (June 2003)
•      Promote best practice
                                                     Observers are:
•      Continue mutual monitoring
                                                           The Federation of European National
•      Understand existing barriers to mobility            Engineering Associations (October
       and develop strategies to assist                    1997)
       governments and licensing authorities to
       manage the barriers.                                The APEC Engineer Coordinating
                                                           Committee (June 2000)
•      Encourage governments and licensing
       authorities to adopt the EMF                  The present Chair is provided by ECSA, Mr
       agreement                                     Alec Hay, and the Secretariat provided by EC
                                                     (UK) through Mr Chris Simpson.

                                                     •     The International Register
Membership                                           The EMF International Register of Professional
                                                     Engineers is intended to provide a framework
The Full Members of the EMF are:                     for the recognition of experienced professional
       Australia - The Institution of Engineers,     engineers by responsible bodies in each of
       Australia (October 1997)                      the Member organisation’s economies. In
                                                     particular, such bodies will be encouraged to
       Canada - The Canadian Council of              use the Register as a secure benchmark for
       Professional Engineers (October 1997)         arrangements, which provide mutual
                                                     recognition or exemption and/or streamline
       Hong Kong, China - The Hong Kong
       Institution of Engineers (October 1997)

access by professional engineers to licensing      registered on the International Register. This
or registration in economies other than that in    matter has been ratified by most signatories

                                                                                                         `B E Y O N D B R A I N D R A I N ’ - M O B I L I T Y, C O M P E T I T I V E N E S S & S C I E N T I F I C E X C E L L E N C E
which they first gained recognition.               and should be in use shortly.

The register is a decentralised one and the        The main challenge facing the EMF is the
committee of the EMF responsible for this          question of ‘Granting Right of Practice’.
register is the International Register             Discussions at the last meeting indicated that of
Coordinating Committee, which consists of          the eleven Full Members, five were fairly open,
representatives of all Provisional and Full        two have residency requirements and four have
Members.                                           major statutory restrictions. These statutory
                                                   difficulties constitute barriers to mobility and in
Only signatories with an approved Assessment       the future the EMF will need to focus attention
Statement are Full Members and they have a         on this matter. At this stage, any networking to
vote on this Committee.                            assist in getting closer to resolving the issue
The Committee is responsible for:                  would be welcome. In this context, both the
                                                   World Federation of Engineering Organizations
•     approving Assessment Statements;             and its connections to the United Nations
                                                   Educational, Scientific and Cultural
•     authorising a signatory to have a de-        Organization (UNESCO) and the World Trade
      centralised register; and                    Organization (WTO) could be of value.
•     controlling the monitoring process.          A vision in the EMF is that regional registers
                                                   like that of APEC, FEANI, NAFTA and others
The chair and secretariat are the same as for
                                                   could with time, effort and collaboration be
the EMF.
                                                   incorporated as regional registers of the EMF.
The entry requirements for individuals to the
International Register are as follows:             Other Mobility Initiatives
Candidates must:                                   •       FEANI
•     have reached an overall academic level       The European Federation of National
      substantially equivalent to a WA degree;     Engineering Associations was established in
                                                   1951 and is one of the older organizations
•     have been assessed in their own
                                                   seeking recognition of engineering practitioners
      economy as eligible for independent
                                                   for purposes of mobility. With some 27
                                                   member countries, variations exist in level and
•     have had seven years practical               content of degrees within FEANI. Accreditation
      experience since graduation;                 and the operation of a national register are
                                                   further matters that vary from one member
•     have spent at least two years in             country to another. FEANI is an official
      responsible charge of significant            observer on the EMF and their interaction with
      engineering work; and                        the EMF member countries assures close
•     have maintained their Continuing
      Professional Development (CPD) at a          •      NAFTA
      satisfactory level.
                                                   A relatively recent initiative also has been the
Progress and Challenges                            development of the recognition of engineering
                                                   qualifications of the North American Free Trade
Facing the EMF                                     Association. Although the writers are not very
                                                   conversant with the exact details of the
An issue raised at the last set of International   agreement, it is understood that it has had
Engineering Meetings in New Zealand was the        positive influences in that region.
question of ‘branding’. It was accepted in the
                                                   •      The APEC Engineering Register
EMF that this was desirable and the signatories
agreed to recommend to their governing             This initiative was started at a similar time to
bodies that the EMF should adopt the use of a      that of the EMF. Their development process
post nominal, IntPE, for engineers who are

towards a register was facilitated through the      often through statutory means in addition to
APEC Economic Leaders and the APEC Human            the involvement of the profession, is focused
Resource Development Ministers. Generally,          on public health and safety, and may have
the standards required for being on this register   some form of government control. Generally,
and that of the EMF are the same. The current       all the participants in the discussions groups
members of the APEC Coordinating Committee          covered in this article are from the latter
are: Malaysia (Chair), Australia (Secretariat),     group covering the regulatory side.
Canada, Hong Kong China, Indonesia, Japan,
Korea, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand and       Real and meaningful international recognition
the United States.                                  only comes from fairly rigorous processes built
                                                    into agreements. It should also be apparent
As the standards are the same and the methods       from the time taken to actually achieve
of operation are similar, both the EMF and          acceptance by the parties involved in many of
APEC are working towards closer                     these agreements, that they do take time. They
collaboration.                                      are not like `club’ agreements, which focus
                                                    on cooperation, and which can be
•      ETMF                                         reasonably easily negotiated. If critical issues
The Engineering Technologists Mobility Forum        such as benchmarked standards, quality
emerged from the Sydney Accord and has been         assurance, competency, risk management
                                                    and accountability are not covered, then such
structured in a similar manner to the EMF. The
Agreement to Establish an International             agreements will not get off the starting blocks,
Register of Engineering Technologists was           and mobility will remain a dream.
signed in June 2003. The signatories to this        The Washington Accord, the Sydney Accord,
agreement are:                                      the Dublin Accord, the APEC Engineer
       Canada – The Canadian Council for            Coordinating Committee, the Engineers
       Technicians and Technologists (CCTT)         Mobility Forum and the Engineering
                                                    Technologists Mobility Forum groups
       Ireland - The Institution of Engineers of    collectively have chosen when meeting together
       Ireland (IEI)                                to be known as the International Engineering
                                                    Meetings (IEM). There is general consensus that
       New Zealand - The Institution of             all need to move towards having a group
       Professional Engineers, New Zealand          which covers the academic side and a second
       (IPENZ)                                      group to cover mobility to ensure economic
                                                    use of available resources.
       United Kingdom - The Engineering
       Council, United Kingdom (EC(UK))             Although an applicant country needs to meet
                                                    extensive requirements to become signatories
       South Africa - The Engineering Council
                                                    to these agreements, some key issues need to
       of South Africa (ECSA)
                                                    be in place before such a step can be
       Hong Kong, China - The Hong Kong             contemplated. Essentially for a country to start
       Institution of Engineers (HKIE)              the process of obtaining provisional
                                                    membership, there are some basic
The present Chair is provided by ECSA, Mr           requirements to be met. For the academic side,
Terry Stidworthy, and the Secretariat provided      namely the Washington Accord, the Sydney
by EC(UK) through Mr Chris Simpson.                 Accord and the Dublin Accord, an
                                                    accreditation system, independent of the
Conclusions                                         educational institutions being accredited, is
                                                    required. For the professional practice side,
Through these discussions it is apparent that       namely the Engineers Mobility Forum, the
in many countries one can generally say that        APEC Engineer Coordinating Committee and
the profession can be divided into two spheres;     the Engineering Technologists Mobility Forum,
the voluntary side covering learned society and     the country needs to have a national register in
vocational issues and the regulatory side           place.
covering accreditation, registration, licensing
                                                    Interest is growing internationally in these
and discipline. The former is focused inwards
                                                    initiatives. At the last set of International
on the profession and is usually controlled and
                                                    Engineering Meetings in New Zealand in June
organised by the profession itself. The latter,

2003, 22 countries were present. More are
expected to attend the next set of IEM meetings

                                                          `B E Y O N D B R A I N D R A I N ’ - M O B I L I T Y, C O M P E T I T I V E N E S S & S C I E N T I F I C E X C E L L E N C E
to be held in Hong Kong in 2005 as visitors.

Countries not yet involved are welcome to
make contact with any of the persons listed in
the attached Annexure A, which gives contact
details for each of the groups involved. The
Secretariats in conjunction with their Chairs can
make the necessary arrangements for an
organization to attend the meetings for the first
time as visitors.

                                   Annexure A
                   Contact List IEM - November 2003

Washington Accord (Engineers)
Chair:    Australia (IEAust)       Dr Peter Greenwood
                                   Mr Maurice Allen
Secretariat: USA       (ABET)      Dr George Peterson
                                   Ms Kate Aberle

Sydney Accord (Technologists)

Chair:       UK        (EC(UK))    Mr Barry Dobson
                                   Ms Katy Turff
Secretariat: SA        (ECSA)      Mr Terry Stidworthy
                                   Mr Paul Roux

Dublin Accord (Technicians)
Chair:    UK          (EC(UK))     Mr Barry Dobson
                                   Ms Katy Turff
Secretariat: Ireland   (IEI)       Mr Paddy Pursell
                                   Mr Denis McGrath

Engineers Mobility Forum
Chair:    SA          (ECSA)       Mr Alec Hay 
                                   Mr Paul Roux
Secretariat: UK        (EC(UK))    Mr Chris Simpson
                                   Dr Jim Birch

Engineering Technologists Mobility Forum
Chair:       SA      (ECSA)      Mr Terry Stidworthy
                                 Mr Paul Roux  
Secretariat: UK      (EC(UK))    Mr Chris Simpson
                                 Dr Jim Birch  

APEC Engineers Coordinating Committee
Chair:       Malaysia  (BoE)    Ir Dr S S Gue  
                                Ir Dr Judin A Karim
Secretariat: Australia (IEAust)                
                                Mr Michael Bevan


Hong Kong China        (HKIE)      Ir Dr Alex S K Chan
                                   Albert Chow 
                                   Mrs Monica Yuen


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