Mutual recognition of professional qualifications in architecture post EU Exit


RSUA members will be aware that the UK has left the European Union (EU) and a transition period is currently underway.  During this period UK qualified architects and Irish/EU qualified architects continue to benefit from automatic recognition of their qualifications between the UK and Ireland/EU. Once the transition period ends on 31 December 2020, however, EU rules and regulations will no longer apply to the UK. 

Both RSUA and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) have been following matters closely, particularly in relation to the impact that the UK’s departure from the EU will have on the registration of architects. ARB has therefore dedicated significant staff time to preparing in as much detail as possible for different outcomes, including a no-deal scenario.  

If the UK and the EU have not reached an agreement before the end of 2020, the Architects Act 1997 (the Act) will change in line with the Government’s Technical Notice on providing services and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Guidance Note on the system for recognising EU qualified architects.  The legislation to support these changes has already been passed and will come into effect once the transition period ceases.  In this scenario, the key changes to the regulation of architects in the UK would be as follows:

  • The Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive 2005/36/EC (MRPQD) system will cease to operate in the UK
  • The existing list of MRPQD qualifications that can be used for the purposes of registration will be ‘frozen’ on 31 December 2020 and used as an initial reference source for relevant decisions (Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD)
  • Individuals seeking recognition in the UK under the new system will no longer need to be EEA nationals 
  • The section of the Architects Register known as Part 2 (for temporary and occasional services) will be withdrawn 
  • The route to registration in UK known as the ‘General System’ will be withdrawn

Notwithstanding this, ARB and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) are working together to ensure that any impact on the recognition procedures between the UK and Ireland is minimised after the transition period ends. RSUA will keep members updated on progress and developments.

The expiry of the transition period will not affect the registration status of architects currently registered in the UK or Ireland.

ARB and the RIAI both intend to retain systems of recognition for those with Irish/EU and UK qualifications respectively but the possibility of a more complex system following the end of the transition period exists.  

Both ARB and the RIAI advise that architects registered in either jurisdiction, and who wish to benefit from the MRPQD, submit their applications as soon as possible and in any event no later than 31 December 2020. Applicants will require certification from ARB or the RIAI in support of applications under the MRPQD.  For information on ARB certification, please see here. For information on RIAI certification please visit here.

ARB’s EU Exit pages contain information, advice and useful links that will be updated as we move closer to the end of the transition period. You can also contact ARB with any further queries you may have by emailing or calling 020 7580 5861.