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Working in the European Union

UK National working in the European Union

UK citizens who are registered with the Engineering Council are entitled to work and be recognised as professional engineers or technicians in another European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) Member State.

For the purposes of European Directive 2005/36: Recognition of Professional Qualifications/registration, the engineering profession in the UK is regulated as defined in Article 3 paragraph 2. This describes a profession as being regulated where there is an organisation recognised in a special form by a Member State, which awards formal qualifications/registration to its members, monitors their code of conduct and conveys the right to use titles. The Engineering Council fulfils these requirements and is listed in Annex I of the Directive.

Applying to work in the European Union

Article 11 of the Directive sets out levels of professional qualification. Engineering Council registration aligns to these as follows:

  • Engineering Technician: Article 11(c)
  • Incorporated Engineer: Article 11(d)
  • Chartered Engineer: Article 11(e)
  • Information and Communications Technology Technician: Article 11(c)

Details of professions that are regulated in each Member State can be found on the European Commission Regulated Professions Database. This also identifies the relevant Competent Authority.

The Competent Authority in the host country has four months in which to reply to your application for recognition. Your professional engineering institution will be able to provide a letter confirming the level of your professional registration and additional supporting information if required. If your professional engineering institution is not a Competent Authority in its own right, the Engineering Council can provide a letter.

If there is a significant difference between your UK registration and that required to practise the profession in the host country you may be requested to undertake compensation measures. These may be in the form of an aptitude test or an adaptation period and must be proportionate to the difference that has been specified.

If your application is refused you must be given detailed reasons why. You are entitled to appeal against the decision of the Competent Authority. The UK SOLVIT centre provides a conciliation service.

Once your professional qualification/registration has been recognised you are entitled to work in the host country under the same conditions as persons who gained their professional qualifications/registration in the host country. You have the same rights and obligations as citizens of the host country.

The Directive also covers the procedures required to gain the recognition required to work temporarily, for example as a consultant, in other EU/EEA Member States.

For more information on making an application for recognition under the Directive, see the European Commission’s User Guide.

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