Mutual recognition

Individuals who are licensed or registered in any other State/Territory of Australia or New Zealand to seek the equivalent category of licence in Western Australia (WA), known as the principles of “mutual recognition”.

Mutual recognition does not apply to partnerships (firms) or bodies corporate (companies) seeking to obtain an equivalent occupational licence throughout Australia or in New Zealand.

How do I apply?

If you wish to work in WA in an industry Consumer Protection regulates, you will need to lodge an application for registration of equivalent occupation (the application).  At the time of applying, the application must be accompanied by an accurate copy of all current licence certificate/s you hold and the associated fee/s relevant to the particular occupation.

Your interstate/New Zealand licence must be current for you to be eligible to seek the equivalent authorisation in WA.  If your home jurisdiction does not license your occupation you cannot utilise the mutual recognition process.

Under the legislation a ‘notice’ must be lodged with the local registration authority where you are seeking an equivalent registration under mutual recognition. The application serves as the notice required by the legislation.

For further information about who is authorised to witness the application, please see witnessing applications.

What happens once the application is lodged?

As soon as the application and the copy of your interstate/New Zealand registration certificate is lodged with the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, and the required fee is paid you are entitled to ‘deemed registration’.

Once you are deemed to be registered, you may carry on the occupation in WA (subject to any local laws which apply to the industry), under the same terms as your interstate/New Zealand authorisation until a formal decision has been made about your application.  During this period the Commissioner will make enquiries regarding your licensing history in any State/Territory/New Zealand in which you are currently licensed or registered.

Conditions may be imposed on the Western Australian licence to achieve equivalency with the scope of your interstate/New Zealand authorisation.

For example, in New South Wales (NSW) a real estate agent’s licence does not authorise the holder to undertake business brokering activities. Therefore, a person who applies to WA with a NSW real estate agent's licence could be issued a real estate and business agent's licence in WA with a condition limiting activities under the licence to real estate transactions.

What licences are there and do they have specific requirements?

You should be aware all laws pertaining to the equivalent Western Australian occupation apply to you once you have lodged your completed application under mutual recognition and commence operating in WA. 

For some occupations you will be required to provide further information and/or comply with additional requirements before a licence document is issued to you or you commence operating. 

You are unable to lawfully carry on your occupation in WA until the following information and/or documents have been provided to Consumer Protection.

Motor Vehicle Dealer (MD)

If you intend to operate from more than one premises, please provide details the additional addresses. You will also need to nominate a licensed yard manager as well as the category or categories of licence you wish to have the licence endorsed with, if it is granted.

Motor Vehicle Repair Business (MRB)

If you intend to operate from more than one premises, including mobile premises, you will need to provide details of each of the premises.

Motor Vehicle Salesperson (MS)

Where a salesperson's licence is granted under mutual recognition, the licence certificate will be held pending receipt of confirmation of the dealership you will be working for.

Real Estate and Business Agent (RA)

All real estate agents intending to receive or hold trust money must have an auditor and a trust account in accordance with section 68 of the Real Estate and Business Agents Act 1978. If granted, the licence and triennial certificate will be held pending receipt of a letter from the nominated auditor and details of the trust account opened for this purpose.

Please note: In WA, auctioneer licensing is administered by the Magistrates Court, so if you are entitled to auction property in your home State, a real estate agent's licence issued in WA will not permit you to carry out this work. For further information about auctioneer licensing, please contact the Magistrates Court on (08) 9425 2499.

Settlement Agent (SA)

Settlement agents (also known as a conveyancer in other jurisdictions) are required to hold professional indemnity and fidelity insurance at all times while operating. If you intend to hold or receive trust money you must also have a nominated auditor and a trust account

If the application is granted, the licence and triennial certificate will be held pending receipt of a letter from the registered auditor, a copy of the insurance policy document and the details of the trust account.

Debt Collector (DCL)

Debt collectors must have an appropriate surety lodged with the Department. If a licence is granted, the certificate will be held until an approved security bond or bank guarantee is submitted.

Motor Vehicle Repairer (MR)

motor vehicle repairer will be notified of the outcome of their application. At that time, if the certificate is granted, you will be required to provide two certified passport sized photographs and a certified copy of your photographic identification. Once this information is received a wallet sized identity card will be issued to you.

Land Valuers (LV)

Land Valuers must provide their employment details for the purposes of the register. If the licence is granted you will be required to provide this information before the licence certificate is issued to you.

Employment Agents (EA)

If an application for an employment agent's licence is approved, the licence certificate will be issued to you, however, you cannot use a scale of fees and charges unless it has first been approved by the Commissioner.

Real Estate and Business Agent Sales Representative (RR)

While you do not need to be employed by a real estate agent to qualify under mutual recognition, you must advise the Commissioner within 14 days of commencing or ceasing employment as a sales representative. A registration cannot be renewed unless you are employed at the time of renewal.

What are your rights under mutual recognition?

If the Commissioner does not make a decision to grant, refuse or postpone registration within one month of the date on which you lodged the application (which includes paying the required fee and providing a copy of your licence/registration certificate/s), then you will be entitled to full registration immediately after that time.

You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your application.  The Commissioner may refuse or postpone the grant of a licence for a number of reasons, such as when information or documentary evidence of an existing licence is found to be false or misleading or when the licence being sought is not for an equivalent occupation.

If the Commissioner decides to refuse, postpone or grant registration subject to conditions and you feel aggrieved, you can apply to the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision.

When can you commence work?

You may commence work in your licensed occupation in WA as soon as you are deemed to be registered.  Please see What happens once the Application is lodged? above for further information about being deemed to be registered.

Please check with Consumer Protection's licensing branch for any other requirements that may apply to your application. It is important to note if your interstate/New Zealand licence is subject to any special conditions, then those conditions will also apply in WA.

Section 27(3) and 26(3) of the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition 1997 respectively state requirements regarding fidelity bonds, trust accounts and auditors must be complied with before the occupation can be carried out under deemed registration.

What happens once you are licensed?

Mutual recognition only applies to new occupational licensing applications. Once you commence operating in this State, you will be subject to all relevant Western Australian legislation.

Renewal applications are also considered under the Western Australian legislation. At which time you may be required to have completed compulsory professional development (CPD), provide a National Police Certificate or credit history reports, depending on the industry in which you operate.

It is recommended you familiarise yourself with the applicable occupational licensing legislation in Western Australia. The relevant legislation is available for download from the State Law Publisher.

Mutual recognition legislation

The following legislation makes provisions for mutual recognition of licences in Western Australia:

  • Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2010, and
  • Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Act 2007

Further Information

If you have any questions regarding mutual recognition or lodgement of notices for registration, please contact the Consumer Protection Licensing Branch by email or telephone on 1300 304 064 (overseas callers +61 8 6251 2931). 

If you would like to find out more about mutual recognition on a National level, or wish to confirm if the licence you hold is on the list of equivalent occupations, please visit the Licence Recognition website.

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