Workshop on recognition of qualifications to facilitate movement of natural persons

03 May 2019
09:00 - 17:00 hrs. 10:00-18:00, Room XXVI, Palais des Nations
, Switzerland

In the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, as well as in other trade agreements, trade in services is defined in four modes of delivery: cross-border (mode 1), consumption abroad (mode 2), commercial presence (mode 3) and movement of natural persons (mode 4).

While the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) aims to achieve liberalization for trade in services in all modes of delivery, movement of natural persons remains much more restricted than other modes, especially mode 3.

One of the restrictions to mode 4 is non-recognition by a host country of skills or qualifications obtained in a home country.

While countries can provide autonomous recognition of foreign qualifications or skills, it is often necessary to have a mutual recognition of qualification between countries. Known as Mutual Recognition Agreement or Arrangement (MRA), countries or regions enter into MRA to facilitate the temporary migration of people. Both autonomous recognition and MRA are envisaged in Article VII of GATS.1


To provide a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and exchange of views and lessons learned to harvest the benefits from the trade in services-migration-development nexus by examining key issues in relation to that nexus, the challenges and opportunities facing developing countries and options to tackle them.

Expected outcome

  • Participants will enhance their understanding on the existing national, regional and multilateral approaches in dealing with recognition of qualifications and skills.
  • Participants will gain knowledge of options that countries can use to facilitate mode 4 trade in services, and in a broader sense, migration, through recognition of qualifications and skills, including under trade agreements or labour agreements.
  • Participants will have concrete information to contribute to the High-Level Political Forum review in July 2019, where governments will be invited to report on the implementation of the migration-related SDG target 10.7 on “facilitating orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people”.
  • Participants will have concrete information to contribute to the implementation of the GCM.
  • Areas for possible further work by UNCTAD and co-partners will be identified.

Target participants

Experts and policy makers in the areas of services economy and trade, labour and migration from government agencies and institutions, private sector, international organizations, academia, and civil society.


How to facilitate mode 4 trade in services through recognition of qualifications

Questions to be addressed

  • What are the bilateral, regional and multilateral approaches to mode 4 services trade and recognition of qualifications?
  • What are the successful experiences and lessons that can be drawn in trade agreements and regional integration agreements?
  • How to mainstream global and regional frameworks on recognition of qualifications into national services and migration?
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