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Professionals and a no-deal Brexit

View profile for Reggie Lloyd
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“Exit day” is 29 March 2019. If a no-deal Brexit occurs, professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinary surgeons, midwives, pharmacists and architects who qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA) and work in the UK and those who qualified in the UK and work in the European Union (EU) may be affected.

At present, EEA nationals who qualified in another EEA State have their qualifications recognised under The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (2005/36/EC) (MRPQ Directive). However, if there is a no-deal Brexit, the MRPQ Directive will no longer apply and no reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications between the EEA and UK will exist after 29 March 2019.

On 12 October 2018, the government published a technical notice about qualified professionals in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

What are the implications of a no-deal Brexit for professionals and their employers in the UK?

EEA professionals (including UK nationals holding EEA qualifications) who have already been recognised will not be affected and their recognition decision will remain valid. Those who have not commenced such an application before 29 March 2019 will be subject to new arrangements. The government says it will publish these before 29 March 2019. However, EEA professionals who have applied for, but have not received, a recognition decision before 29 March 2019 should be able to conclude their application in line with the MRPQ Directive.

The technical notice states that the government will issue further guidance to provide professionals and employers with more information concerning recognition decisions pending on Exit day or issued after Exit day. 

What are the implications for UK professionals working in the EU?

A UK national who has had a professional qualification recognised before 29 March 2019 will not be affected. UK professionals who intend to work in the EU after 29 March 2019 will need to check the national policies of the country where they intend to work. Professionals who work in the EU or intend to work in the EU should consider whether it would be prudent to obtain formal recognition of their qualification before 29 March 2019.