What is the Professional Qualifications Bill?
By recognising overseas professional qualifications, the UK will be:
- Introducing laws that support a commitment to making it one of the best countries in the world to conduct business, trade, and to work.
- Allowing regulators (including devolved administrations) to have autonomy in determining professional standards and assessing who meets them.
- Empowering regulators to license ‘highly’ qualified professionals from abroad and enabling them to perform in line with the skills we need.
In the past, the framework used to recognise professional qualifications had its roots in EU law. But, the majority of the UK rules and regulations changed when Brexit came to fruition.
Hence, regulators needed to have specific routes for recognising professional qualifications and top achievements from certain citizens, including those from:
- The European Economic Area (includes the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
Yet, workers with proof of professional qualifications outside of these EU areas have faced even tougher hurdles when trying to get qualifications recognised in the United Kingdom.
In some cases, this has included:
- Higher application fees.
- No means to recognition whatsoever.
Note: The primary purpose of the Professional Qualifications Bill is to establish a practical regulatory framework that recognises worldwide professional qualifications needed to meet the demands in the United Kingdom.
Taking Back Control of the Laws
One of the outcomes from the 2016 referendum question in the United Kingdom is having greater control of our laws.
As such, the new laws introduced by the government will make sure the UK has the skilled professionals that are needed.
It also results in greater autonomy for many of the UK regulators. Not only can they assess qualifications in this country, but they can pursue arrangements with similar counterparts in other countries as well.
Here’s a good example:
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is one of the noteworthy regulators established by Parliament in 1997 to regulate architects. Thus, they can agree a mutual recognition agreement with other international partners based around the world.
Therefore, helping UK architects get their qualifications recognised abroad also supports businesses and skilled professionals based in Britain.
Note: The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy produced further guidance for regulatory and professional bodies on arrangements to facilitate the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
Extra Powers for Devolved Administrations
The Professional Qualifications Bill also provides greater powers for devolved administrations. By ensuring their regulators can enter into arrangements with multinational partners, they will be enhancing the UK’s status as a global trader.
Furthermore, new legislation helps to meet the demands of individual professions working in different regions around the United Kingdom (e.g. by gaining access to global talent).
Simply put, the UK Government, as well as many of the devolved administrations, can identify demand for skilled workers needed from overseas and then bring in legislation to address it.
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