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Press releases 2020

Brexit and professional recognition - update

Published: 30/07/2020

Engineering Council logoThe Engineering Council is the UK partner in organisations and signatory to agreements that facilitate the international mobility of engineering professionals.

Following the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20, the UK government continues to negotiate a potential trade deal with the EU.

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. Applications for recognition under the Directive that have been initiated before this date should be taken to completion by European regulators into 2021, but if recognition is required in an EU Member State, it is advisable to begin this process as soon as possible.

The draft negotiating document for the EU-UK Free Trade Agreement sets out (in Chapter 13) a framework to facilitate a fair, transparent and consistent regime for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications. This would include provision for aptitude tests and an appeals mechanism.  

The counterpart EU document sets out a different approach in which professional bodies are encouraged to develop recognition arrangements, as included in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It is likely that this would require any negotiated Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to include all EU-27 Member States.

Until a trade agreement is finalised and the content is published, it  will not be possible to provide full details on how the mutual recognition of professional qualifications will work after the end of the transition period. This may be as late as November or December 2020.

If no trade deal is agreed, the recognition of outbound UK professionals reverts to individual EU Member State rules. Information about the conditions for regulation in each EU Member state are found in the EU Single Market Regulated Professions Database. According to The Recognition of Professional Qualifications (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, passed in January 2019, the UK would continue to recognise the professional qualifications of inbound EU professionals in a mechanism resembling the UK transposition of the current EU Directive

In this situation UK regulators would  able to negotiate MRAs with EU regulators on a case-by-case basis, which would not supersede national legislation, but could aid recognition.


For press enquiries:    

Kate Webster, Engineering Council –, 020 3206 0567

The Engineering Council holds the national Register of Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communication Technology Technicians (ICTTech). It also sets and maintains the internationally recognised standards of competence and ethics that govern the award and retention of these titles. By this means it is able to ensure that employers, government and wider society, both at home and overseas, can have confidence in the skills and commitment of registrants. For more information visit: