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Briefing Paper: The recognition of professional qualifications post-Brexit and the Professional Qualifications Bill

Posted On: 05 Aug 2021


The end of the Brexit transition has seen citizens and businesses in the UK and the EU facing a great deal of additional complexity, which they must now try to understand the practical implications of.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and EU allows for zero-tariff, zero-quota trade in goods between the two (although there are non-tariff barriers), while the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland ensured that the free circulation of goods could continue on the island of Ireland. Conversely, there are significant new obstacles for those wishing to provide services cross-border between the UK and EU, including between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Cross-border trade in services on the island of Ireland is estimated to have been worth £3.41bn in 2019. In the same year, and as reported by the House of Commons Library, total trade in services between the UK and Ireland was worth more than £35bn, with almost half of this figure was contributed by business services, such as legal work, accounting, and other professional work. There are more than 160 professions regulated by law in the UK, overseen by over 50 regulators, plus a range of other professions regulated voluntarily. According to the European Commission’s regulated professions database, Ireland currently has 182.

Many of these sectors have been facing uncertainty about the validity of their professional qualifications to practice outside of their home jurisdiction. It is this challenge that is explored in this Briefing Paper.

Download PDFThe Centre for Cross Border Studies