Gov’t will protect local skilled workers within AEC

National 1 minute, 48 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE government will protect local employment in certain skilled professions in the midst of free flow of skilled labour in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), said a senior officer yesterday.

With the official launching of AEC in December last year, the regional grouping became a single common market and production base which will lead to the free flow of goods, services, investment capital and skilled labour.

“We still need foreign talents… but at the same time we really look after our local experts also,” said Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, permanent secretary (Trade) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT) on the sidelines of the ministry’s outreach programme on AEC and Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) yesterday.

The ASEAN bloc has established its mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) aimed at making it easier for eight skilled professionals to work in other ASEAN member states.

The professional workers include doctors, dentists, nurses, architects, engineers, accountants, surveyors and tourism professionals.

MRAs are a major instrument for skilled labour mobility in ASEAN.

Dato Lim said that there is a need to satisfy the local requirements or regulations in a country before the foreign talents can start working.

“We have the mutual recognition arrangements in many services sector among members of ASEAN but this does not imply that they (foreign skilled professionals) can come in without satisfying the local conditions, (or) the local regulations, which is very important,” he said.

Giving example, he said that foreign doctors who wish to work in the Sultanate need to be registered in the Brunei Medical Council and they have to register to the professional standards.

These are among other regulations that will be imposed by the ASEAN member states, otherwise it will be difficult to manage the professional mobility in the regional grouping, he added.

He said that foreign talents have to fulfill certain criteria of the local regulations.

ASEAN member states, including Brunei, launched the AEC at the end of last year, achieving a milestone in the bloc’s regional economic integration agenda that offers opportunities in the form of a market of US$2.6 trillion ($3.5 trillion) with over 622 million people.

The Brunei Times