Mutual Recognition Guidance

It is important that all applicants read the following information carefully before lodging an application in the ACT under mutual recognition.

About Mutual Recognition

Mutual recognition allows a person licensed in an occupation in a state (or territory) to apply for mutual recognition of their licence in another state (or territory), where the occupation applied for is substantially the same. This process is carried out under the Mutual Recognition Act 1992. The state of the original licence is referred to as the ‘first state’ and the state the applicant applies to be registered in is referred to as the ‘second state’.

People registered in New Zealand may also apply for a licence under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

Mutual Recognition Process

Step 1 - applicant

Complete the application form at EPD forms and publications link.

Step 2 - applicant

Lodge to EPD Customer Services with application fee.

Step 3 - EPD

Your application will be referred to the Licensing Team within two working days.

Step 4 - EPD

The Licensing Team will correspond with the state/s you are licensed in to determine exactly what you are entitled to do under the licence, and whether your licence is subject to disciplinary action.

Step 5 - EPD

The Licensing Team will make a decision in relation to the application within one month after the application is lodged (receipted). If approved, a letter of offer will be posted to your nominated postal address requesting payment for the licence term fee.

Limits of Mutual Recognition

Individuals only

Mutual Recognition can only be used by individuals, not by corporations or partnerships.

Tip: If you intend to obtain a corporation or partnership licence in the ACT, your nominee may still apply for a licence under mutual recognition. You will need to wait until the individual is licensed before you submit an application for the company. The company application will be returned to you if you appoint a nominee who does not have an ACT licence.

One state only

If you are licensed in more than one state, then you must choose the state you would like the ACT to recognise. Even if you are licensed in many states, we can only recognise one state’s licence at a time and cannot make a combination licence if you have different functions in different states. It is up to you to select the interstate licence which has the right scope of work for what you intend to do in the ACT. You are still required to advise which other states you hold licences in as we need to verify that you are not cancelled, disqualified or subject to disciplinary action in any state.

How do I know if I can use Mutual Recognition to get a licence?

The following occupations may be recognised in the ACT under mutual recognition:

  • Architect
  • Asbestos Assessor
  • Asbestos Removalist
  • Builder
  • Building Assessor (Energy Ratings)
  • Building Surveyor
  • Drainer
  • Electrician
  • Gas Appliance Worker
  • Gasfitter
  • Plumber
  • Plumbing Plan Certifier
  • Works Assessor

Mutual recognition cannot be used for occupations not licensed in the ACT. Examples of occupations that are not licensable in the ACT are:

  • Bricklayer
  • Cabinet Maker/Joiner
  • Carpenter
  • Electrical line worker
  • Painter
  • Plasterer
  • Refrigeration and air-conditioning mechanic
  • Wet sealer

Mutual recognition may not be able to be used for occupations that are not deemed equivalent even though they may be named the same. Alternatively, we may impose conditions to achieve equivalence. Some common examples of are:

Asbestos Assessor

The scope of work for an asbestos assessor licence in NSW and QLD is not the same as the scope of work for an asbestos assessor in the ACT, so conditions are imposed to only entitle air monitoring and clearance inspections.

Tip: applicants may prefer to use the “Application for Construction Occupation Licence – Asbestos Assessor” so that their licence is not conditioned.

NSW Builder

Builder licences in NSW only entitle the licensee to undertake residential work. They may also undertake commercial work in NSW but this is not licensable so under mutual recognition the licence will be limited to residential work in the ACT.

Tip: Applicants from NSW are advised to nominate a licence from another jurisdiction, or use the “Application for Construction Occupation Licence – Builder” if intending to carry out commercial work in the ACT.

Lifting conditions under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act

You may decide that you want conditions lifted from your licence that were applied initially to achieve equivalence under mutual recognition. Please be aware that in most cases you will need to meet the requirements under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) Act for the open class of licence you require. For example, a builder who is issued a Class A licence limited to residential work based on mutual recognition from NSW would need to meet the requirements for an open class A licence under the Construction Occupations (Licensing) (Mandatory Qualifications) Declaration which involves demonstrating two years experience and providing a relevant degree. This can be found at Construction Occupations (Licensing) (Mandatory Qualifications) Declaration Link

Mutual Recognition for numerous occupations

If your licence in the ‘first state’ is for more than one occupation, you may apply for mutual recognition of all occupations using the one application form. You will however be required to pay a separate application fee and licence term fee for each occupation.

Further information

You can check equivalence for most licences at Licence recognition link

If you have any further questions please check with the Licensing Team before you lodge your application.

Phone – (02) 6207 8096

Email –

The ACT Government is committed to improving the accessibility of web content. To provide feedback or request an accessible version of a document please contact us or phone 13 22 81.