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The term Mutual Exemption Agreement (MEA) usually refers to the process by which registration authorities take into account an applicant’s prior registration with another authority. They may allow for exemption from some or all of each partner’s normal assessment processes. Such agreements are usually bi-lateral and may exist between two authorities within the same country, or a national organisation and its equivalent in another country. Multi-party agreements also exist, for example, the Engineering Council Mutual Recognition Agreement with Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ), whereby the Engineering Council as signatory to the agreement enables members of all participating professional engineering institutions to make use of the agreement.
There are subtle differences in emphasis: for example, a Mutual Exemption Agreement (MEA) is most likely to grant exemption from part of the assessment process, whereas a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) or Reciprocal Recognition Agreement (RRA) may provide direct access to the agreed registration/membership of the partner without further assessment. In practice, the terms are often used interchangeably, according to the customs of the signatories. The details of any agreement should be checked carefully to establish what it provides for users.
In June 2018 the Engineering Council re-signed a mutual recognition agreement with Engineering New Zealand (formerly the Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand (IPENZ)). Details can be found on our Mutual Recognition Agreement page.
Many professional engineering institutions have agreements with national engineering institutions outside the UK. These may have discipline restrictions. You should contact your professional engineering institution for details.