Directive 2005/36 EC1 governs the system of recognition of professional qualifications in the EU. The directive provides a system of recognition of professional experience and promotes automatic recognition of professional experience across the EU. The directive applies to a number of professions including for example, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives and dentists.
On 21 June 2018, the EU Commission published a notice to stakeholders in relation to the “Withdrawal Of The United Kingdom And EU Rules In The Field Of Regulated Professions And The Recognition Of Professional Qualifications”. A copy of the notice can be found here.
The notice provides information on the impact Brexit will have on the recognition of professional qualifications.
The Commission Notice and Advice
The Commission notice analyses the legal consequences of the UK's withdrawal on regulated professions and recognition of professional qualifications.
The Commission published the notice in view of the “considerable uncertainties, in particular concerning the content of a possible withdrawal agreement”. The aim of the notice is also to remind persons who need recognition of their professional qualifications of the legal repercussions that need to be considered when the UK becomes a third country.
The Commission has advised that unless a transitional arrangement is agreed with the UK, that as of the withdrawal date that the EU rules in relation to the recognition of qualifications will no longer apply to the UK. The Commission further advised that unless another date is agreed, the rules will cease to apply from 30 March 2019 (the “withdrawal date”) as this is the date that the UK will become a third country.
The Commission has advised that this will have the following consequences:
The withdrawal of the UK does not affect decisions on the recognition of professional qualifications obtained in the UK taken before the withdrawal date. This is on the basis of Directive 2005/36/EC.
As of the withdrawal date, UK nationals will be third country nationals and Directive 2005/36/EC will not apply to them. This means that the recognition of UK nationals in an EU-27 Member State will be governed by the national policies and rules of that Member State. This applies irrespective of where the qualifications were obtained.
Further, the temporary or occasional provision of services by UK nationals even if they are already legally established in an EU-27 Member State will be governed by the national policies and rules of that Member State.
In respect of EU-27 nationals the Commission has advised that, qualifications obtained in the UK as of the withdrawal date are third country qualifications for the purposes of the EU law and will no longer be covered by the recognition regime under Directive 2005/36/EC, but in accordance with Article 2(2) of Directive 2005/36/EC, the national policies and rules of the EU-27 Member States.
The Commission has advised that EU-27 nationals holding UK professional qualifications obtained before the withdrawal dates, should consult the relevant national authorities to assess whether it is advisable to obtain, before the withdrawal date, the recognition of UK professional qualifications in an EU-27 Member State.