The market for professional services is increasingly international but comparisons have not been made between different professions nor on how state policies affect opportunities for mobility. This article considers three professions: engineers, physicians and psychologists and explores the similarities and differences in international labour market demand for occupations. It examines how state policies in four countries, Canada, Finland, France and the UK, aim to promote and control professional labour mobility and migration, and the differences across the three professions. Engineering is an international profession and the extent to which states encourage inward migration differs. Medicine is highly regulated in all four countries but inward migration of physicians varies depending on national policy. Psychologists are less mobile, and the extent of state sponsorship and regulation varies across countries. In all three professions, international organizations are a force encouraging global standards. The conclusion is that state policies reflect state interests and have a strong influence on patterns of mobility.