Detailed guide: EEA-qualified and Swiss healthcare professionals practising in the UK from 1 January 2021

Introduction

To ensure that the process for recognising professional qualifications is not disrupted by the UKs exit from the European Union, the UK government has enacted legislation (SI 2019/593, SI2019/585) and is awaiting the formal motion to make legislation already approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords that will implement a further agreement with Switzerland.

The legislation will guarantee that qualifications currently automatically recognised with minimal barriers by UK regulators of healthcare professionals will be recognised under a near-automatic system from 1 January 2021.

The near-automatic systems of recognition will last for:

  • up to 2 years, in the case of individuals who hold qualifications awarded in the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • 4 years, in the case of Swiss nationals (and any non-EEA spouses and dependents of Swiss nationals)

This guidance explains what implications this has for EEA-qualified and Swiss healthcare professionals (including any non-EEA spouses and dependents of the latter) who wish to practise within the UK from 1 January 2021. The details contained in this guidance are correct as of 11 November 2020. They may be subject to modification depending on the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU.

Please note that this guidance only concerns the registration of professional qualifications. For further advice on obtaining the right to live and work in the UK, please see information on the new immigration system, the EU Settlement Scheme the right to reside, and obtaining a Health and Care visa.

EEA-qualified healthcare professionals

The following advice applies to individuals who have an EEA-awarded or third country-awarded EEA-recognised health or care qualification.

Registration to practise in the UK

If you have already completed the registration process, there is no further action you need to take. You will continue to be registered to practice.

If you submit a registration application to a UK regulator before 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, there is no further action you need to take. Applications for registration submitted before 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 will be concluded on the basis that they were started.

If you submit a registration application after 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, if your health or care qualification is not listed among those identified as meeting the requirements for automatic recognition in EU law as per Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC (select the table of contents on the left-hand side and then select Annex V from the list), your application will be processed via the relevant regulators international registration process.

For further details of those specific processes, please visit the webpage for the relevant regulatory body. A list of links to these can be found at the end of this document.

If your health or care qualification is listed among those identified as meeting the requirements for automatic recognition in EU law as per Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC (select the table of contents on the left-hand side and then select Annex V from the list), your application will be processed via a similar near-automatic recognition process as previously. Annex V contains lists of qualifications for the following professions:

  • doctor of medicine
  • general nurse (adult nurse in the UK)
  • midwife
  • dentist, or specialist dentist
  • pharmacist

Please note that:

  • an individuals eligibility for having their healthcare qualification recognised under this process by a UK regulator does not depend upon their nationality or country of residence
  • the success of any application also depends on an applicant meeting the registration requirements relating to professional indemnity, character, English language and payment of fees stipulated by the UK regulator of their chosen healthcare profession

UK healthcare regulators will be reviewing these processes in the coming years, at the latest by 31 December 2022. Your regulator will publish any process changes that they make. Any queries on such changes should be taken up with your regulator directly.

For further advice on obtaining the right to live and work in the UK, please see information on the new immigration system, the EU Settlement Scheme the right to reside, and obtaining a Health and Care visa.

Undertaking temporary and occasional work

From 1 January 2021 the UK will no longer register EEA-qualified healthcare professionals for temporary and occasional (T&O) services. The UK will no longer have access to the Internal Market Information (IMI) system, so applications for the European Professional Card (EPC) will no longer be processed by UK regulators. There will be no further automatic registrations for T&O with UK regulators via the EPC system either.

If you are already registered to undertake T&O work before 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, you can continue to provide T&O services until your temporary registration expires. You will not be able to renew your temporary registration after 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020.

Swiss healthcare professionals

Please note the details below are dependent on legislation that is being made to implement the Swiss Citizens Rights Agreement

The following advice applies to individuals holding professional health and care qualifications who are either:

  • Swiss nationals
  • non-EEA member state nationals who are the spouse or dependant of a Swiss national
  • UK nationals settled in Switzerland
  • non-EEA member state nationals who are the spouse or dependant of UK nationals settled in Switzerland

Registration to practise in the UK

If you have already completed the registration process, there is no further action you need to take. You will continue to be registered to practice.

If you submit a registration application to a UK regulator before 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, there is no further action you need to take. Applications for registration submitted up to and including 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 will be concluded on the basis that they were started.

If you submit a registration application after 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020, if your health or care qualification is not listed among those identified as meeting the requirements for automatic recognition in EU law as per Annex V of Directive 2005/36/EC (select the table of contents on the left-hand side and then select Annex V from the list), you may still apply for registration via the relevant UK regulator under the directive through the general system of recognition or though acquired rights.

For further details of those specific processes, please visit the webpage for the relevant regulatory body. A list of links to these can be found at the end of this document.

This is the case if one of the following app



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