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 when the UK leaves the EU (with or without a deal). Both potential outcomes impact on the ability for individuals to come to the UK and for employers to recruit EU/EEA nationals into employment.

Current arrangements will remain in place until the agreed date of departure.

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.

When the UK leaves the EU, alternative arrangements have been agreed to replace both the free movement of people and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications in a deal or no deal scenario. The table below outlines the requirements as set out by UK legislation.

  Deal  No deal 

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 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 engaging 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.

EU/EEA citizens who currently live in the UK or arrive before the agreed leave date will need to make an application via the EU Settlement Scheme at some point before 31 December 2020.

From the agreed leave date until 31 December 2020, EU citizens will be able to enter the UK as they do now and stay for up to three months to visit, work or study.

If an individual wishes to stay longer than three months they will need to apply for European Temporary Leave to Remain, which will be valid for three years. Further detail of this scheme will be made available in due course, if required.

The Home Office is currently engaging 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. Individuals wishing to stay beyond the three years of European Temporary Leave to Remain will be required to apply to the new immigration system, at the appropriate time.

Irish citizens have the right to enter and live in the UK under the Common Travel Area arrangements, these arrangements do not apply to them.

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.

 

Healthcare professionals who apply to have their qualification recognised by a UK regulator (eg GMC, NMC, etc) before the agreed leave date, will have their application concluded under current arrangements.

The Department of Health and Social Care has introduced a statutory Instrument which maintains existing recognition arrangements for EEA and Swiss professional qualifications, as far as possible, for a period of two years after the UK leaves the EU.

From the agreed leave date, qualifications that are currently automatically recognised, will continue to have similar treatment for at least two years.

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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