UK departure from the EU

European map and EU stars

This section recaps on the arrangements in place to replace free movement of people and how qualifications will be recognised by UK healthcare professional regulators following the UK's departure from the EU.

Free movement of people: the EU Directive enables the free movement of people between EU/EEA members states to live and/or work.

Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive: the EU Directive enables healthcare professional regulators to automatically recognise certain EU professional qualifications which leads to entry to the relevant professional register.

The UK left the EU with an agreed withdrawal agreement on 31 January 2020. This means the following requirements apply as set out by UK legislation:


Entry to the UK to live and works for EU/EEA citizens

EU/EEA citizens*  will be able to enter the UK to live and work until the end of the transon period on  31 December 2020 and will receive the same rights as EU citizens currently living in the UK do now.

Individuals (both those currently in the UK and anyone arriving before 31 December 2020) will need to make an application via the EU Settlement Scheme at some point before 30 June 2021. 

Employers can support staff to complete an application by signposting to the government-issued information on the EU Settlement Scheme.

The Home Office is currently continuing its engagement with employers to shape the future immigration system which will be in place for the recruitment of EEA and non-EEA citizens from 1 January 2021.

Recognition of professional qualifications by UK professional regulators

The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualification Directive will continue until 31 December 2020.

Any qualification that is not entitled to automatic recognition will be assessed by the relevant regulator as it is currently.

UK regulators will work with the Department of Health and Social Care over the next two years (2021) to review arrangements for the processing of applications to the register from individuals who have gained their heath professional qualification outside of the UK.

Healthcare professionals whose qualification has been recognised and who are registered before the agreed leave date will continue to be registered afterwards.


* EU/EEA citizens refers to nationals of Switzerland or one of the EU or EEA member countries.

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