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Brexit transition

The Transition Period is ending on Thursday 31 December and there will be no extension. The UK will no longer be part of the EU Customs Union and Single Market. This means that, regardless of whether a free trade agreement is reached with the EU, there will be new rules from Friday 1 January 2021 which require immediate action.

Mutual recognition of professional qualifications

The Engineering Council has been working to understand and establish the potential consequences of Brexit on the recognition of professional registration in the EU. We published a press release in July setting out our understanding of the situation. 

The current framework for recognition of professional qualifications, established under the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC, as amended by 2013/55/EU), remains in place until the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

After the Transition Period ends this MRPQ Directive will no longer apply to the UK. The relevant legislation from 1 January 2021 is the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Amendment (EU Exit) Regulations (2019), which amends the EU-derived domestic legislation that relates to MRPQ - EEA (2015) and Switzerland (2007). There is a useful Explanatory Memorandum available, produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Inbound professionals

The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that a system of recognition of professional qualifications continues and that individuals arriving in the UK with EEA or Swiss qualifications after exit day will have a means to seek recognition. This new legislation means that UK competent authorities must provide a route to recognition for holders of EEA/Swiss qualifications who meet the requirements of the profession in the UK.

This legislation will definitely be introduced from 1 January 2021 in the event of a ‘no deal’ (ie that no agreement is reached between the UK and the EU) and is very likely to also apply if an agreement is reached. 

Outbound professionals

If no trade deal is agreed, the recognition of outbound UK professionals reverts to individual EEA/Swiss Member State rules from 1 January 2021. Information about the conditions for regulation in each EU Member state can be found in the EU Single Market Regulated Professions Database. Previous recognition decisions concerning UK professionals, that were made when the UK was a member of the EU, will be unaffected. For applications for recognition that have not been concluded on 1 January 2021: it will be taken into consideration that the application was made when the UK was a member of the EU. In the event that a trade deal is agreed, it is expected that some provision for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications will be made, but the details are not yet known. Whatever the outcome, the Engineering Council will continue to work closely with EEA/Swiss regulators on mutual recognition.

Membership of international engineering organisations

Engineering Council membership of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI), the European Network for the Accreditation of Engineering Education (ENAEE) and the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) will continue.

In September 2020, BEIS opened a consultation on the regulation of professional qualifications and regulation of the professions, to which the Engineering Council has responded. This is a broad look at the way that UK professions recognise professional qualifications gained overseas, with the aim of introducing a single system for overseas qualifications in the future.

More detailed information for licensed professional engineering institutions (PEIs) is available on our Partner Portal


BEIS and its Business Intelligence and Readiness Directorate have asked that information be shared with individuals and organisations in preparation for the end of the Transition Period.

Your business needs to act now to prepare for these new rules. If you do not take action, there is a risk business operations will be interrupted. 

As a first step, you should visit where you can use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take. The checker tool will ask you questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of such as new rules on:  

You can help prepare your businesses for the new rules by using support mechanisms provided by the Government:  

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