Skip to main content

Professional Qualifications and the Common Travel Area

Volume 666: debated on Wednesday 16 October 2019

As set out in the memorandum of understanding signed on 8 May 2019, the common travel area between the UK and Ireland means that British citizens in Ireland and Irish citizens in the UK can work in either country, including on a self-employed basis, without any requirement to obtain permission from the authorities.

Her Majesty’s Government remain committed to ensuring the continuation of adequate and appropriate provisions to enable the recognition of Irish professional qualifications in the UK after Brexit.

We seek to build on the highly effective working relationships that currently exist between the UK and Ireland in this area. Many professional bodies and regulators in the UK and Ireland have close and long-standing links, rooted in mutual trust and familiarity. Some operate as a single body across jurisdictions. The Government will support and encourage continued close collaboration and communication between UK and Irish regulators.

My Department, along with colleagues across Whitehall, have been working closely with UK regulators and professional bodies to ensure that, as far as possible, there are appropriate systems and procedures in place for the recognition of Irish professional qualifications, whether through retained EU legislation or alternative profession-specific pathways. Some individuals will continue to benefit from bilateral arrangements already in place between UK and Irish regulators.

We recognise that it is in our mutual interest to ensure that these routes to recognition are in place to allow Irish professionals to continue in their important participation within the UK economy.

Her Majesty’s Government will continue to encourage UK and Irish regulators to work together to strengthen their relationships and minimise the impact on individuals of any necessary changes after EU exit. By building on long-standing relationships and established good practice we seek to ensure minimal disruption for all stakeholders.

Finally, Her Majesty’s Government would like to reassure professionals with Irish qualifications who have already had those qualifications recognised in the UK under the current EU directives, that their recognition decisions will still stand and they will continue to be recognised.