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European Directive: Recognition of Professional Qualifications

What is the European Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications?

The European Directive 2005/36: Recognition of Professional Qualifications (as amended by Directive 2013/55) is a mechanism to facilitate mobility for EU citizens who wish to practise their profession in a Member State other than their home country.

If I am registered with the Engineering Council, can I benefit from the European Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications?

Yes. Annex 1 of the Directive lists UK professional titles that fall within the remit of the Directive and the Competent Authorities that are responsible for them. The titles Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng), Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technician (ICTTech) are all listed. The Engineering Council is the Competent Authority in respect of these titles.

How do I use the Directive?

You can find information about applying for recognition in the European Commission’s User Guide for Directive 2005/36.

Does the Directive mean that I can practise in another EU Member State without needing to register there?

No. Engineering practice is subject to different types of regulation in different Member States (MS). Some MS do not regulate engineering at all. Some, like the UK, have voluntary systems of regulation, while others require anyone who wishes to practise engineering to be registered with the appropriate competent authority.

How do I find out whether I need to register in the Member State where I want to practise as an engineer?

Each EU Member State (MS) has a National Contact Point which can advise you whether the activity you wish to practise is regulated in that MS and put you in touch with the relevant Competent Authority. A list of National Contact Points is published on the European Commission website. You can also use the European Commission Database of Regulated Professions to check whether your engineering discipline is regulated in a particular MS.

I am a non-UK EU national and want to work as an engineer in the UK. Do I need to register with the Engineering Council?

Registration in the UK is voluntary. However, the professional titles Engineering Technician (EngTech), Incorporated Engineer (IEng), Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technician (ICTTech) are protected in law. These titles may only be used by those who are registered with the Engineering Council in the appropriate section of the Register. Very few engineering activities in the UK are reserved to registered professionals.

Which engineering activities are regulated in the UK?

In general there is no restriction on the right to practise as an engineer in the UK.  However there are a small number of areas of work, generally safety related, which are reserved by statute, regulations or industry standards to licensed or otherwise approved persons. These areas of work include:

UK legislation can be searched at www.legislation.gov.uk/search

Engineering Council Registration is recognised as desirable in many fields of engineering employment and for provision of engineering services but is not mandatory.

I am a professionally registered engineer in my home EU Member State. What do I need to do to register with the Engineering Council?

You will need to join one of the professional engineering institutions that will assess your application for registration. You will need to provide evidence of your academic qualifications and information about your engineering experience and competences. If the institution finds that there is a significant shortfall between the education, training and competence you required to gain the professional title in your home country they may ask you to complete compensation measures. Please see the European Commission Users Guide for further information.

I am an Engineering Council registrant and want to work in another EU Member State. Is my registration certificate all I need to get recognition of my professional title?

It is likely that you will be asked to provide evidence of your academic qualifications, training and work experience. In some Member States, it is the practice to define engineering activities in a very specific way, and you may be asked to undertake compensation measures if there is a significant shortfall between your education and experience and the requirements of the Member State where you wish to practise.

What can I do if another Member State refuses to recognise my Engineering Council registration?

Member States retain the right to make an assessment of professional titles and, if there is a significant shortfall when compared to their own system, to request compensation measures. If you believe that another Member State has unreasonably denied recognition, or is imposing disproportionate compensation measures, you should contact the SOLVIT service.

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