A ground-breaking agreement will make it easier for Australian higher education qualifications to be recognised across the Asia-Pacific, with the Tokyo Convention taking effect from today.

Japan and South Korea have signed on to the Convention, joining Australia, China and New Zealand in supporting the mobility of students, academics, researchers and other professionals across the region.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Tokyo Convention the Turnbull Government had worked to deliver would bring the recognition of higher education qualifications into the 21st Century, taking into account the significant expansion and innovation in education in the region.

“The ratification of the Tokyo Convention will benefit all Australian higher education graduates, both domestic and international, by providing greater opportunities to work or study across the Asia-Pacific region,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The greater recognition of qualifications will enable the 1.5 million students who studied at Australian higher education providers in 2016 to realise the full value of an Australian qualification in a globally mobile world.

“This agreement also further strengthens education cooperation and cultural ties between Australia and some of our most important education and economic partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Australia has led the way in improving the recognition of qualifications across the region to facilitate greater mobility and I encourage other countries in the region to sign onto the Tokyo Convention into the future.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews said it would also make it easier for Australia’s higher education providers to expand access to international markets, building on the success of Australia’s $28 billion international education sector.

“Students from the Asia Pacific who undertake study and research in Australia want to know that when they’re finished, they can rely on the qualifications we award them,” Minister Andrews said.

“The biggest possible return on their investment is having their Australian education being recognised at home.”

The Tokyo Convention is a significant outcome under the inaugural National Strategy for International Education 2025 the Turnbull Government developed which aims to boost the recognition practices internationally while at the same time promote Australian qualifications.