The Professional Qualifications Act 2022 becomes law

On the 28th April, The Professional Qualifications Act 2022 received royal assent and has now become law. The new act revokes the previous EU legislation governing how overseas professional qualifications are recognised in the UK.

Revocation of EU legislation

The previous system of governing how overseas qualifications are recognised in the UK was derived by the EU, often giving preference to qualified professionals from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland when it came to assessing individuals. Since leaving the EU on 31st January 2020, this preferential treatment has been unreciprocated for the UK, therefore the new Professional Qualifications Bill was proposed with the aim of benefitting the UK’s needs.

Autonomy of UK Regulators

The Professional Qualifications Act enshrines in law the autonomy of the UK in deciding the right approach to recognising overseas professional qualifications. Regulators of UK professions such as the Architects Registration Board and the General Medical Council can now decide who is fit to practise without any of the restrictions of the previous EU system, allowing them to make recognition decisions in the best interests of their profession and with the aim of maintaining high profession-al standards in the UK.

Exportation of UK talent

Furthermore, the act will support UK professionals in being recognised outside of the UK, through the ability to strike recog-nition deals with counterparts such as Australia and New Zealand where new trade deals are already in place.

“The Act supports the UK’s world-leading professions to export their services and strengthens the UK’s ability to negotiate and implement ambitious deals on the recognition of professional qualifications.”

Key provisions of the act are expected to come into effect by Autumn of 2022.

“The UK is a global leader in architecture and we are delighted at the passing of new legislation to help facilitate UK architects to practise globally and for international architects to work in the UK.”

Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Architects Registration Board (ARB)

Key points

  • UK regulators can now decide auton-omously whether an individual pos-sessing overseas qualifications is fit to practise a regulated profession in the UK.

  • Qualifications of skilled professionals on an international level (not just a European one) can now be recog-nised by UK regulators.

  • UK professionals will also be able to practise more easily on an interna-tional level, in combination with new trade deals and more reliable infor-mation sharing between UK and overseas regulators.

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