Part 3: Professional Qualifications and Regulations

UK Market Access: Professional qualifications and regulation

Section 24: Access to professions on grounds of qualifications or experience

  • This section sets out when a professional qualified in one part of the UK is automatically treated as qualified in respect of that profession in another part of the UK (the automatic recognition principle). This section also explains the situations where the automatic recognition principle does not apply.
  • Subsections (1) and (2) introduce the automatic recognition principle. They provide that where a provision (defined in section 29) limits access to a profession in the relevant part of the UK to those that have certain qualifications or experience, UK residents who are “qualified” in another part of the UK (as explained in section 25) will be treated as if they were qualified to practise that profession in the relevant part.
  • Subsection (3) excludes provisions relating to ongoing professional requirements, such as continuous professional development, from the automatic recognition UK residents will still need to comply with such requirements when working in another part of the UK.
  • Subsection (4) provides that subsection (1) and (2) are to be read subject to sections 26 and

Section 25: Meaning of “qualified” UK resident

  • This section sets out when an individual is considered a “qualified” UK resident for the purposes of being able to rely on automatic recognition principle.
  • Subsection (1) and (2) define “qualified” (in relation to UK residents) as meaning qualified (in accordance with subsection (3) to (5)) in any part of the UK other than the one in which recognition is being sought, to undertake the full range of activities which comprise the practice of the profession for which recognition is being sought.
  • Subsection (3) to (5) explain what it means to be “qualified” in relation to those To the extent that the relevant activities fall within a corresponding regulated profession in the other part, an individual must be qualified to access that profession (subsection (3)).

Otherwise, an individual must meet any specific qualification requirements attaching to specific activities (subsection (4)). To the extent that the activities are unregulated in the other part, any UK resident is qualified (subsection (5)).

  • Subsection (6) provides for the operation of subsection (3) in certain cases. Where there are corresponding regulated professions in the two parts of the UK, an individual cannot rely on the ability to undertake the activities outside of a regulated profession in the ‘other part’ (subsection (6)(a)); and where there are overlapping professions in the ‘other part’, only qualifications to access the profession closest to the one for which recognition is being sought count (subsection (6)(b)).
  • Subsection (7) provides that only qualifications obtained in the UK, and experience obtained mainly in the UK can be relied on for the purposes of this How to determine where a qualification is obtained is explained in section 29(6).

Section 26: Exception from section 24 where individual assessment offered

  • This section sets out an exception to the application of the automatic recognition principle in section 24.
  • Subsection (1) provides that the automatic recognition principle will not apply where a process which complies with the section enables a UK resident to seek recognition of their professional qualifications or experience in order to practise the profession This does not affect the position of any individual who has practised the profession before the process was available (who will still be able to rely on automatic recognition).
  • Subsection (2) provides that the process must allow the relevant regulatory body to be able to grant access to the profession following an application by a UK resident.
  • Subsection (3) provides that any process engaging this section must comply with the principles set out in subsection (4).
  • The principles in subsection (4) include qualifications or experience obtained in one part of the UK should be treated equally to like qualifications or experience obtained in the part where recognition is sought and should be able to be relied on to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills required to access the profession.
  • Subsection (4) also provides that where an applicant cannot in reliance on qualifications and experience alone demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills required to access a specific profession, the process should allow the applicant to undertake a test or assessment in order to be able to demonstrate that they do in fact have the knowledge and skills that are not demonstrated by their qualifications or experience.
  • Subsection (4) further provides that if the applicant can demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills, either on the basis of the qualifications or experience they can evidence, or through the test or assessment, the regulatory body should recognise the applicant and allow them to practise the profession in that part of the UK.
  • Subsection (5) and (6) set out a situation where a regulatory body does not have to offer an assessment in accordance with subsection (4) before declining an application. In effect, this is where the gaps in the applicant’s knowledge and skills are such that an individual assessment would be just as demanding as doing whatever would be needed for the applicant to obtain the qualifications or experience that are normally needed to access the profession.
  • Subsection (7) and (8) provide that a decision on an application under the process must be made within reasonable time and sets out the consequences if that is not done (namely that automatic recognition can be relied on once the failure is established).
  • Subsection (9) provides that the regulatory body must publish information about the procedure for making an application under the process, including providing information on how the process satisfies the principles it must comply with.
  • Subsection (10) defines terms used in this In the event that there is no specific regulatory body responsible for a profession, it provides that the responsibility for administering a process complying with the clause will rest on relevant minister or department.

Section 27: Other exceptions from section 24

  • Subsection (1) provides that the automatic recognition principle does not apply to existing provision except as provided for in subsection (3).
  • Subsection (2) describes an “existing provision” as a provision in force on the date that this Act is passed (or a provision made after that date if it simply re-enacts or replicates such provision already in force at the date the Act is passed).
  • Subsection (3) sets out the circumstances where the automatic recognition principle will apply to an existing provision. This is when, after the Act is passed, that part or a different part of the UK makes provision that affect the circumstances in which individuals are qualified in respect of the profession concerned.
  • Subsection (4) defines “relevant part” and “qualified” for the purpose of this
  • Subsection (5) and (6) exclude certain legal professions from the scope of section 24(2). This means that the automatic recognition system will not apply to these professions.
  • Subsection (7) excludes the profession of school teaching from the scope of section 24(2). This means that the automatic recognition system will not apply to this profession.

Section 28: Professional regulation not within section 24: equal treatment

  • This section provides that a UK resident practising a profession in a part of the UK with qualifications or experience obtained in another part of the UK, must be treated on the same basis, in respect of ongoing professional requirements, as a locally qualified This includes those who have been recognised through the automatic recognition principle or through a process complying with section 26 but also applies to other UK residents with qualifications or experience obtained in the UK.
  • A professional who holds qualifications or experience from outside the part of the UK in which they are practising must be treated as if their qualifications or experience were the same as the qualifications or experience held by a locally qualified professional. If the qualifications or experience are different in type and cannot be obtained in the relevant area, the applicant should be treated on the same basis unless more onerous requirements can be justified due the differences in the qualifications or experience.

Section 29: Interpretation of Part 3

  • This section defines certain terms used in this Part of the Act (or provides for them to be read in certain ways in certain cases).
  • Subsection (1) provides that the ability to practise a profession includes being able to undertake the activities that make up a profession, use a professional title or be registered where this is required.
  • Subsection (2) ensures that, where a qualification attaches to a particular professional activity, that requirement only falls within the scope of section 26 if it is essential to the practice of the profession generally.
  • Subsections (3) to (5) deal with cases where there are two or more routes to practise and none of them complies with section 26. For the purposes of the automatic recognition principle, a qualified UK resident gets the benefit of the least demanding For example, if those with qualification A were allowed to practise the profession without further individual assessment and those with qualification B were allowed to practise the profession only after a further individual assessment, a qualified UK resident would be automatically recognised without having to undergo the individual assessment.
  • Subsection (6) provides that where a qualification is to be treated as “obtained” depends on where the body that issues it is That in turn is to depend on where the registered office, head office or principal place of operation of the body is.
  • Subsection (7) avoids circularity by ensuring that, when the Part describes the sorts of provision that it affects, the effect of the Part on those provisions is to be disregarded.
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