Show Form

News search

News Menu:

Sign up to our Engage eNewsletter

Engage - December 2023

The Professional Qualifications Act 2022 came into force on 1 December

Published: 01/12/2023

The UK Professional Qualifications Act 2022 (PQ Act) came into force on 1 December 2023, as announced by the Government’s Department for Business and Trade (DBT). The impact of this Act on the Engineering Council and its Licensees will be minimal.

Existing legislation

The PQ Act came into force on 1 December and revokes the UK version of the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015 (S.I. 2015/2059). The 2015 Regulations are the UK implementation of the EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications.

The Recognition of Professional Qualifications (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 modified the 2015 regulations by introducing, post-Brexit, conditions for the recognition of professionals from the EU/EEA and Switzerland. These regulations were intended to ensure that UK professional bodies and regulators had established routes to recognise EU/EEA/Swiss professionals within set timescales. These were:

  • Acknowledgement of receipt: one month
  • Notification of the decision within four months of receipt of all relevant documentation

Impact of the new legislation

As of 1 December 2023, the timescales introduced by the 2019 modification of the 2015 system no longer apply. This means EU/ EEA professionals will no longer be able to rely on those timescales for a decision when applying for recognition after this date. However, recognition applications and decisions made before 1 December 2023 will remain valid.

As engineering is regarded as a Chartered Profession that is not regulated in law, from 1 December, the Engineering Council and Licensees will be free to maintain pathways for recognition for professionals from the EU/EEA without any additional requirements in law.

The UK-Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein Free Trade Agreement

The Department for Business and Trade will also implement the UK-Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein Free Trade Agreement (FTA), subject to Parliamentary approval, on 1 December 2023. This FTA includes provisions for the recognition of professionals, but these are not in the scope of those professions not regulated in law and therefore will not apply to the Engineering Council and Licensees.


The 2019 Regulations were also amended by the 2020 Regulations to implement international agreements that the UK had agreed to. These were the EEA- EFTA Separation Agreement, the UK Withdrawal Agreement and the Swiss Citizen’s Rights Agreement (CRA).

The CRA makes provisions for the recognition of Swiss professionals which were implemented in 2020 legislation. These will not be revoked and we should continue to apply our current arrangements for Swiss professionals until 1 January 2025. These are:

  • Acknowledgement of receipt: one month, including informing the applicant of any missing documentation
  • Notification of the decision within four months of receipt of all relevant documentation
  • This includes Swiss nationals and UK nationals with Swiss qualifications


The requirement to have recognition routes in place for Irish professionals will also remain in place under the conditions of the Common Travel Area. The Engineering Council’s Admission Pathways Agreement with Engineers Ireland provides a streamlined route for mutual recognition.

For more information, please see the Professional Qualifications Act 2022.