Post-Brexit recognition by the UK of EU professional qualifications

During the UK’s membership of the EU, professional qualifications obtained in any EU country formed part of a reciprocal system. This permitted EU nationals to have their qualifications recognised across the EU, allowing them to practise their profession throughout the region. Since Brexit, that system no longer applies.

However, as part of the EU withdrawal arrangements, the UK and the EU agreed that qualifications that had already been recognised before 11 pm on 31st December 2020 would continue to be recognised. This also applied to applications for qualifications that were already in progress on that date. But for people whose qualifications were not already recognised, this does not apply.

From 1st January 2021, the UK set up a New Temporary General System for the recognition of professional qualifications. This recognition process can be lengthy, complex and costly.

I’m an EU professional. How do I check whether my qualification is recognised in the UK?

If you plan to work in a profession that is regulated in the UK, you’ll need to make sure your qualification is officially recognised. Even if you’re providing temporary or occasional professional services, you still need this official recognition. You can find out about recognition through  ENIC, the UK National Information Centre for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills.

Remember – just because your professional qualification may be recognised doesn’t mean that you have an automatic right to work in the UK. You will still have to follow standard immigration procedures.

If you’re an architect, auditor, lawyer or healthcare professional

There is a lot of detail on how to get your professional qualification recognised in the .gov website.

Key areas of change post Brexit

Here are the key areas where the system has changed since Brexit –

  1. The UK will only grant recognition to qualifications that are comparable in scope, level and content to a UK qualification. So, for example, recognition may not be granted where either
    1. the professional training required or received is significantly different from that in the UK
    1. the profession in the UK does not have a single corresponding profession in the relevant country from which the applicant comes.
  2. The following professional fields are no longer part of the general system. The UK will make separate legislation for them regarding the recognition of qualifications
    1. most medical, health and social care professionals
    1. architects, vets, farriers, statutory auditors, notaries and lawyers
    1. teaching professionals.
  3. Regulatory bodies in the EU and the UK are no longer obliged to co-operate with each other regarding applications submitted after 31st December 2020. UK regulatory bodies will no longer receive alerts regarding the fitness to practise or professional standing of individuals via the Internal Market Information system.  However, the sharing of information between regulatory bodies in the UK and EEA/Switzerland about criminal sanctions or disciplinary action against individual applicants is still permitted upon request.
  4. There is no longer an obligation on UK regulatory bodies to consider applications for partial access to a profession or for temporary or occasional services.
  5. UK professional bodies are only obliged to consider applications in relation to EU qualifications. They are no longer obliged to consider non-EEA or Swiss qualifications, even if held by an EEA or Swiss national.
  6. New applications for European Professional Cards will not be possible.

Helping EU professionals with qualification recognition

The process of qualification recognition can be complex. We can introduce you to one of our legal partners that can help you confirm whether your qualification is recognised in the UK.

Find out more. Get in touch, and remember  – we’re here to help.

During the UK’s membership of the EU, professional qual […]

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