10 Jun 2018
ASEAN people-to-people connectivity: the role of the mutual recognition regime
The concept of intra-regional connectivity is emerging as the rationale for the ASEAN regional project and will develop around three pillars: the physical infrastructure, the institutions and the people. Specifically, the facilitation of the free movement of highly skilled migrant workers at the regional level is identified in ASEAN documents as a primary mechanism to achieve people-to-people connectivity. The paper aims to study the emerging regional mobility framework under ASEAN by focusing attention on the potential impact of mutual recognition arrangements (MRAs) on professional services as connecting instruments. The objective is to provide new insights into the building of ASEAN’s regional process by taking the mutual recognition regime as a means to reconcile the traditional prerogatives of sovereignty and new common concerns in the context of cross-border human mobility and economic development. The review of the current evolution of ASEAN MRA architecture will focus on the challenges and promises of the intra-regional cooperation in developing the legal framework by fostering a rule-based organisation. To this end, the analysis will be complemented by an examination of Thailand’s mutual recognition initiatives for professionals in the health services.