Show Form

News search

News Menu:

Sign up to our Engage eNewsletter

Press releases 2020

Brexit and professional recognition

Published: 07/01/2020

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

A Brexit deal has been agreed in principle with the EU. Both the UK and the EU need to approve and sign the withdrawal agreement by the end of January 2020. They will then start to negotiate new arrangements and there will be an implementation period to prepare for new rules. The first reading of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 took place on 9 January, signalling the start of the Bill's journey through the Lords.

Withdrawal agreement

In the event that the withdrawal agreement is signed by 31 January 2020, the framework for recognition of professional qualifications established under the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC, as amended by 2013/55/EU) would remain in place until the end of the implementation period on 31 December 2020.  

Under the terms of the withdrawal agreement, the EU27 will be obliged to ensure UK nationals who are resident or frontier working[i] in the EU continue to have their professional qualifications recognised, as long as they obtained or applied for a recognition decision before the end of the implementation period. This means as long as the application is submitted by December 2020. Under the same terms, the professional engineering institutions (PEIs) licensed by the Engineering Council will continue to accept applications for recognition under the Directive from the EU27 throughout 2020.

No withdrawal agreement

The UK could still leave with no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by 31 January 2020, or at the end of the implementation period. To cater for this outcome a new Statutory Instrument on the recognition of professional qualifications was laid before Parliament on 19 December 2018. This Statutory Instrument works to replace the domestic legislation which implemented the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC, as amended by 2013/55/EU) and would replace S.I. 2015 No. 2059.

Alongside the new Statutory Instrument is the Explanatory Memorandum, which provides greater detail about the changes this legislative instrument would make. Updated guidance for users will be available from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) closer to the date.

The future relationship

The UK and the EU have also agreed a political declaration which sets out the framework for their future relationship, including trade and economic cooperation. There is an overall intent to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU during the implementation period and the UK Government intends to include Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) within the trade deal. There are a number of options for MRPQ within an FTA, which will need to be negotiated between the UK and the EU.


For press enquiries:   

Kate Webster, Engineering Council –, 020 3206 0567

Notes for editors: 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:


[i] Frontier workers are EU citizens, or United Kingdom nationals, who pursue an economic activity as a worker, or are established in accordance with EU law, in one or more states, and who reside in another state.