A Guide to Recognition of Qualifications

The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement means businesses must adapt to new rules and regulations. There are changes to the recognition of qualifications which are important if your business provides services cross-border on the island of Ireland.

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What does the TCA mean for the recognition of qualifications?

The EU legislation on the recognition of qualifications ceased to apply to the UK on 1 January 2021. UK nationals and EU citizens holding a qualification from the UK previously benefited from a simplified (in some cases automatic) recognition regime in other EU countries, which allowed professionals to supply services across the EU, including in the UK.

As of 1 January 2021, as a general rule, UK nationals, irrespective of where they acquired their qualifications, and EU citizens with qualifications acquired in the UK will need to have their qualifications recognised in the relevant Member State on the basis of each country’s existing individual rules applicable to the qualifications of third-country nationals as of the end of the transition period.

What should I do to get my qualification recognised?

The Brexit Agreement foresees a mechanism whereby the EU and the UK may later agree on additional arrangements for the mutual recognition of certain professional qualifications.  

Persons wishing to have their qualifications recognised, should contact the regulator in the state in which they wish to seek recognition.

The UK Government has provided detailed guidance to regulators and others in relation to the recognition of qualifications

In Ireland, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has published guidance and a database in relation to the recognition of qualifications.

What if I obtained a qualification in the UK, but I'm working in Ireland?

Irish Government guidance indicates that there may be implications for people working in Ireland who obtained professional qualifications in the UK, or who seek to have a UK qualification recognised in Ireland. If you have already had these qualifications recognised by the relevant regulator, there will be no change and you can continue to practise in Ireland or elsewhere. More information is available from Citizens Information Ireland and gov.ie.

What if I obtained a qualification in Ireland, but I'm working in the UK or Northern Ireland?

If you hold Irish qualifications and plan to work or practise in a regulated profession or activity in Northern Ireland or elsewhere in the UK then you should check with your relevant professional or qualification body or regulator. In the case of some bodies, the regulator is local to Northern Ireland, while in other cases, there is a UK wide regulator. GOV.UK have guidance on getting your EU professional qualification recognised in the UK.



Article reviewed:  28 March 2023