The impact of Brexit on IET Members working in the EU

What does it mean for UK Engineers working in Europe?

Firstly, if you work in an EU/EEA country and were previously recognised, this recognition will continue. This includes those who had been recognised to work in a ‘regulated profession’. You can check if your profession is recognised in the EU/EEA state in which you wish to work by looking at the Regulated Professions Database

If you were in the process of applying for professional registration before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and your application was in progress on December 31 2020, your application will continue to be processed in accordance with the directive on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ).

So, what happens if you’re not yet registered with the Engineering Council? If you haven’t started the registration process, you won’t receive automatic recognition in an EU/EEA state, and you may need to apply to the specific country. In time, the Engineering Council will lead on the development of mutual recognition agreements with individual countries in the EU. However, you may not need recognition if you are not going to practice in a regulated profession, so it’s worth checking with the database and your employer.

IET members who are registered European Engineers (EUR ING) will not be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and eligible IET Chartered Engineers (CEng) can still apply for EUR ING registration.

We’ve compiled a few of the most asked questions we’re receiving below with useful links. If you can’t find an answer to your specific question, you should visit the Engineering Council’s website, which includes more information on Brexit and its impact on UK engineers working in the EU.

Frequently Asked Questions 

I’m not yet registered with the Engineering Council.  If I get registered will this give me recognition in an EU/EEA state?

No, you will need to apply to the EU/EEA state. Remember, you may not need recognition if you are not going to practice in a regulated profession. 

I am an EU citizen with engineering qualifications. Will my qualifications continue to be recognised by UK employers and professional bodies now the UK has left the EU?

From January 1 2021, the Recognition of Professional Qualifications Amendment (EU Exit) Regulations (2019) means there has to be a system of continued recognition of professional qualifications for engineers seeking recognition in the UK with EEA or Swiss qualifications. This new legislation means that UK-competent authorities, such as the IET, must provide a route to recognition for holders of EEA/Swiss qualifications who meet the requirements of the profession in the UK.

I used the MRPQ to become professionally registered in an EU/EEA state.  Do I need to re-apply for registration now that the framework for recognition of professional qualifications, established under the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive, no longer applies to the UK? 

No. Decisions taken on the recognition of UK professional qualifications prior to withdrawal continue to apply. 

I am intending to register in an EU/EEA state.  Can I still use the MRPQ to apply?

No. From the withdrawal date, the recognition of UK professional qualifications is no longer covered by the MRPQ. 

I am relocating to another EU/EEA state with my work.  Do I need to investigate becoming professionally registered before I can work?

If your employer is relocating you, we would recommend that you liaise with them in the first instance, to verify if they have existing arrangements that comply with local requirements (if any).  If you are a self-employed or a consulting engineer you should refer to the Regulated Professions Database for further information on the EU/EEA state in which you wish to work. 

I have an application in progress with an EU/EEA state competent authority for professional registration.  Will my application continue to be processed under the MRPQ?

No. From the withdrawal date, the recognition of UK professional qualifications is no longer covered by the MRPQ. A registered engineer/technician application for recognition made by UK nationals is now subject to national policies and rules, with recognition reverting to the rules of each Member state.  

Are there any EU/EEA states that recognise UK Professional Registration?

The Engineering Council has recognition agreements with Engineers Ireland and the Ordem dos Engenheiros (Portugal), which are unaffected by the MRPQ no longer applying to the UK.  Further information on the agreements can be located on the IET web site.

I applied under the MRPQ to become professionally registered in the UK as a registered professional from an EU/EEA state.  Do I need to re-apply for registration?

No. Decisions taken on the recognition of EEA or Swiss professional qualifications by citizens in the UK prior to withdrawal will continue to apply.

I have applied for professional registration with the IET under the MRPQ, prior to the UK withdrawal from the EU, but my application is in progress.  Will my application continue to be processed under the MRPQ?

Yes. Applications in process on exit day should be completed, where possible, in accordance with MRPQ.

I would like to apply for professional registration as an engineer with a professional qualification from the EU/EEA.  Can I apply under the MRPQ?

No. Apart from Swiss Nationals who have held (or started) their qualifications before 1st January 2021 and can seek recognition under the old MRPQ rules until 1 January 2024, applications commenced after withdrawal will be subject to the provisions within the Statutory Instrument.  This applies to candidates who hold EU/EEA professional qualifications, which are of equivalent standard to the corresponding UK qualifications in scope, content and level. 

I am a registered European Engineer (EUR ING) Registrant with the Federation of European Engineering Associations (FEANI).  Will my registration be affected by the UK withdrawal?

No. The Engineering Council have confirmed that their membership of the European Federation of National Engineering Associations (FEANI) is unaffected and that eligible IET Chartered Engineer (CEng) registrants can still apply for registration as a EUR ING.