European professional qualification directives

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There are two main European legal instruments covering the mutual recognition of professional qualifications: Directive 89/48/EEC and Directive 92/51/EEC.

Directive 89/48/EEC covers the mutual recognition of qualifications in recognised professions that require a University degree or equivalent. This directive is implemented in the UK by The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) (First General System) Regulations 2005 and by similar regulations in other member states.

Directive 92/51/EEC covers the mutual recognition of qualifications in professions regulated below degree level. This is implemented in the UK by The European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) (Second General System) Regulations 2002 and by similar regulations in other member states.

The Directives cover all twenty-eight member states of the European Union plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

They mean that any form of work that would normally be restricted in a member state to people who had gained a professional qualification in that member state are also open to nationals of the EU (and the other three states) who have gained a similar professional qualification in another member state.

This applies to all forms of work other than those covered by either

the Transitional Measures Directive (Directive 99/42/EC, covering crafts and trades people such as hairdressers and construction workers)

or the Sectoral Directives (Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, General Care Nursing, Veterinary Surgery, Architecture, and Law (This set of Directives was the original method of achieving mutual recognition but proved too slow)

Professions regulated in most or all EU states include:

Accountancy - British-qualified Accountants (Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) or Chartered Accountant (ACA or CA) or International Accountant(AIA) in the UK)

Engineering - Chartered Engineer, or Eur Ing (European Ingénieur), Incorporated Engineer (UK), Corporate membership of a UK professional engineering Institution such as MIET - Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology

Teaching - Teachers (Qualified Teacher Status in the UK)

Law - Lawyers (Barristers, Solicitors and Advocates in the UK).

Note that the regulations only apply to nationals of the 27 countries - e.g. an American who gained Qualified Teacher Status in the UK would not be able, under these regulations, to teach in France, but an Irish citizen would. However, the situation would be different if the American were married to a European and they were living in a country other than the country of which the European is a national.

See also[edit]

The Directives referred to above have been consolidated under Directive 2005/36/EC. This was to be transposed by Member States in October 2007.