Watts Bulletin Banner

Recognition of professional qualifications under scrutiny by EU

Under EU legislation, a range of UK professionals have the right to practise in any member state or European Economic Area country and are treated in the same way under employment law as if they were national citizens.

The mutual recognition of professional qualifications across the European market is vital to the success of chartered surveyors, architects, engineers and other construction professionals working for organisations in Europe or for UK companies with offices located in EU member states.

The European Commission is now working on the possibility of a revision of the EU Professional Qualifications Directive, with an initial report on the transposition and implementation of the directive adopted on 22 October 2010.

The Commission is now turning its focus to professionals and professional associations and in December, the RICS which is working with other UK professional bodies to inform the process, highlighted areas of concern. Due to the lack of harmonisation between qualifications across the EU, the right of professionals to practise in another Member State is subject to measures compensating for major differences between the qualifications in various EU countries. According to RICS, member states have reported difficulties in applying compensation measures due to the lack of funds and capacity to organise tests or supervised practices. Therefore, to reduce the necessary recourse to compensatory measures and to provide increased transparency and legal security, RICS is working with other professional bodies on the simplification of these rules as well as aiming to maintain standards of public protection, especially in areas like the construction sector where knowledge of local legislation and regulation is important. The Commission is now planning to launch a public consultation which will poll views from professionals, employers and consumers on how the directive works in practice.

A final report on the necessary revisions to the directive is expected in autumn 2011. This will be followed by a Green Paper outlining possible options for a review of the current legislation by 2012.

In 2010, RICS published a guide and a set of frequently asked questions for its members, outlining how to get their professional qualifications recognised in Europe. The guide also explains the system for the recognition of professional qualifications introduced by EU Directive 2005/36/EC.

For more information and to access the guide, go to www.rics.org

Watts Pocket Handbook

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.

To subscribe to Watts Pocket Handbook Online, visit wattshandbook.co.uk.