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EU architects’ qualifications still valid after no-deal Brexit, says government

Brexit europe

The government has said it will continue to recognise EU-qualified architects even in the event of a no-deal Brexit

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government today set out how it will ensure that architects from the EU, who are employed in the UK, can keep working post-Brexit.

If the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 without a deal, the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive will no longer apply, effectively invalidating EU architects’ qualifications in this country.

The government has now said it will be setting up a new interim system of recognition for architects with an approved qualification from an European Economic Area (EEA) state, provided they have access to the profession in their home state. 

To do this, the Architects Act 1997, which sets out our statutory duties, would be amended via a statutory instrument in order to deliver the new system. In the event the statutory instrument does not come into force by exit day, the ARB ‘would continue to operate under the current act for a short time’.

Responding to the news, RIBA chief executive, Alan Vallance said: ‘Ensuring that EU-qualified architects can continue to practise in the UK post-Brexit has been a priority concern for the architecture sector. I welcome the news that they will be able to register in much the same way as they do now should there be a no-deal situation.

Vallance added: ‘However, although this guidance provides some much-needed clarity, it will do little to allay the deep feelings of uncertainty in the industry and beyond at the threat of a no-deal Brexit.

‘RIBA research shows that many international architects are not feeling confident about their future in the UK, and there has been a drop in the number of new EU entrants registering here.’

Invisible Studio founder Piers Taylor, who has repeatedly warned of the ‘Brexodus’ of EU nationals from UK practices, described the announcement as ‘good news, but very poor compared to what we have which allows freedom of movement with no minimum income threshold.

‘Qualifications are no use if you can’t come here and can’t stay.’ 

What will happen if there is a no deal…

The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive will no longer apply to the UK and there will be no system of reciprocal recognition of professional qualifications between the remaining EEA states and the UK.

As such, the Architects Act 1997 will be amended via a statutory instrument to correct deficiencies in the system for recognition of professional qualifications that arise in law as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This is to ensure that the current arrangement of automatic recognition of EEA-qualified architects operates as closely as is possible, subject to any immigration rules that may be in place.

In the event that the statutory instrument is not laid by exit day, the Architects Registration Board will continue operating under the current act for a short time, until the statutory instrument comes into force.

The key changes….

• The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive system would cease

• The existing list of Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive qualifications will be ‘frozen’ on exit day and used as an initial reference source for relevant decisions

• Individuals seeking recognition under the new system would no longer need to be EEA nationals

• The section of the Architects Register known as Part 2 (for temporary and occasional services) would be withdrawn

• The route to registration in UK known as the General System would be withdrawn




Readers' comments (2)

  • Industry Professional

    Wow, congratulations, we've realised we can make a no deal scenario work. To quote "continue operating under the current act for a short time, until the statutory instrument comes into force". Simples, apply to all other policies, i.e. nothing will change.

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  • What this announcement does not make clear - one has to read HM Government link in the ARB email issued this morning - is that there is currently no agreed reciprocal arrangement with EEA authorities. Put another way, any of us who work elsewhere in the EU where there is protection of title and/or function will have a problem. Essentially just another example of the kind of issue that has not, and realistically probably will not, be addressed in the deeply unfortunate event of a no-deal Brexit.

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