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EU Exit Questions and Answers

First published: April 2019
Updated: 8 June 2021

The UK has now left the European Union. Previously, the way in which ARB recognised European qualifications for architects registering in the UK was set out in the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC) (MRPQD). This Directive ceased to apply from 1 January 2021. The Directive also ceased to apply for those holding UK qualifications looking to register in Europe.

As outlined by government, interim arrangements have been put in place from 1 January 2021.

ARB has prepared the following Questions and Answers to help provide information about those arrangements.

This is the latest information we have available.  If you have individual questions please email info@arb.org.uk.  Please note that we are unable to provide any additional guidance by telephone.

Please see our Glossary below for an explanation of the terms used on this page.

EEA qualifications and registration

1. I am currently registered with ARB and hold EEA qualifications, will I be affected?
If you are already registered with ARB, you are entitled to remain on the Register and your registration will not be affected. You do not need to do anything and you do not need to contact us.
You will be required, as always, to renew your registration each year by paying the annual retention fee.

2. How does the interim system of recognition from 1 January 2021 work?
Under the interim system of recognition we rely on a ‘frozen’ version of Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD for registration purposes, as it existed at 11pm on 31 December 2020. The most recent version of the Annex, and the one which we rely on, was published by the European Commission in February 2020.

3. I hold qualifications listed in Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD, what do the changes for mean for me?
Those who hold qualifications that were listed in the ‘frozen’ Annex V.7.1 (see question 2) and have access to the profession in the state that the qualification was issued (or an ARB prescribed Part 3) are still eligible to apply for registration. You can apply for registration by following this link.

4. I hold qualifications listed in Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD but do not have EEA rights, what do the changes mean for me?
The former MRPQD system was only open to those with EEA rights. This is not the case under the interim system which came into effect on 1 January 2021. Provided you have qualifications that were listed in the ‘frozen’ Annex V (see question 2) and have access to the profession in the state the qualification was issued (or an ARB prescribed Part 3), you are able to register in the UK. You can apply for registration by following this link.

5. I hold EU qualifications which are not listed in Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD, what do the changes for mean for me?
You will need to seek Part 1 and subsequently Part 2 recognition through the Prescribed Examination. You will also need to secure an ARB-recognised Part 3 qualification from a UK School of Architecture.

6. I hold overseas qualifications that have been recognised by another European Competent Authority, what do the changes mean for me?
You will need to seek Part 1 and subsequently Part 2 recognition through the Prescribed Examination. You will also need to secure an ARB-recognised Part 3 qualification from a UK School of Architecture.

7. I hold Irish qualifications, what do the changes mean for me?
ARB and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) have agreed a memorandum of understanding that became effective on 1 January 2021. The memorandum states that the both parties agree to recognise appropriate UK and Irish qualifications for the purposes of registration until any new UK-EU mutual recognition agreement is implemented. You can find a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding here. You can apply for registration by following this link.

8. Will the interim arrangements delay my registration?
New applications which are submitted without relevant competent authority statements or other key documents will be delayed, so please ensure you submit all the relevant documents when making your application. We will contact you if we need any further information or clarifications. Please do not contact us once your application has been submitted.

9. What are the costs of registering under the interim arrangements?
If you are applying for registration for the first time the fee will consist of a £119 annual registration fee and £35 one off application fee. There are no changes to the current charges.

UK qualifications and registration

10. I hold UK qualifications and am registered with ARB. Can I register automatically in an EEA Member State from 1 January 2021?
This will depend on the regulations within the European Member State in which you wish to practise and how it has decided to deal with the registration of those holding UK qualifications. The European Commission has however issued guidance on this topic. You will need to contact the relevant competent authority in the European Member State in which you wish to practise for information about the application process and the documents you need to provide. We are unable to contact the competent authority on your behalf or advise on their regulations or registration requirements at this point.

11. I hold UK qualifications and am registered with ARB. Will ARB continue to liaise with EEA Member States’ Competent Authorities to assist me in my application to register with them?
We will continue to issue certificates confirming factual information about your UK qualifications if requested. We will provide further detail about how this will work once further information is available.

12. I have completed my Part 1 qualification in the UK and am about to undertake an ARB recognised Part 2 qualification. How do the interim arrangements affect me?
We will continue to recognise your qualifications for the purposes of registration. The right to automatic recognition of UK Part 1 and Part 2 qualifications throughout Europe has however ceased. How your qualifications will be treated within the EEA will depend on the regulations within the specific EEA Member State.

13. I have completed my Part 1 in the UK and am now undertaking (or intend to take) a Masters level qualification in architecture in the EEA. How do the interim arrangements affect me if I wish to return to the UK to undertake a Part 3 and register with ARB?
If your qualification is listed in the ‘frozen’ version of Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD (see question 2) and is awarded whilst the interim arrangements are in place, we will be able to recognise it as Part 2 equivalent through a simple administrative process based on information issued by the relevant European competent authority. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has undertaken a consultation on what the future system will be for recognising international qualifications after that time. Please see question 15 below for more information on future developments.

International (i.e. non EEA) qualifications and registration

14. I hold international (i.e. non EEA) qualifications in architecture. Will I be able to register with ARB under the interim arrangements?
The interim arrangements do not impact on the way in which ARB recognises international qualifications in architecture. If you hold non-UK or non-EEA qualifications, you will need to seek Part 1 and subsequently Part 2 recognition through the Prescribed Examination. You will also need to secure an ARB-recognised Part 3 qualification from a UK School of Architecture. Accreditation or recognition of qualifications by other bodies or organisations does not imply any recognition by ARB.

General

15. These are interim arrangements. What will happen next?
A review of the interim arrangements, including a public consultation, has been undertaken by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The Government has now published the Professional Qualifications Bill, which if passed will amend the Architects Act 1997 to allow holders of qualifications which ARB deems as equivalent to UK standards to enter the UK register.

Provided the Bill is passed, ARB will need to determine which international qualifications can offer an equivalent level of architectural skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours necessary for practice in the UK. We may also set further training or tests that would be required in addition to specific international qualifications, to ensure a consistent level of public protection – for example, to ensure international architects have a sound understanding of UK-specific regulations.

ARB is currently developing the principles that will guide this work and the decisions we’ll be making about international qualifications. We intend to publish these and invite feedback on them, before making decisions and introducing any changes. You can find more information in the ‘New Recognition System for International Architects’ section of our summary of proposed changes to the Act and what this means for ARB.

The interim arrangements that are outlined above will continue to operate until the new legislation becomes effective.

As the Professional Qualifications Bill needs to pass through both Houses of Parliament, it may be subject to revisions as it progresses. We will continue to share information through our usual communications channels such as our website and social media pages as the Bill progresses and timings become clearer.

Glossary

 

  • ARB– Architects Registration Board
  • Competent authority– a person or organisation with the legal authority to deal with a particular matter.
  • EEA– European Economic Area – a free trade zone consisting of the member states of the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
  • Listed qualification– a qualification approved through the European Commission’s notification process and listed under Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD
  • Mutual recognition – a process through which ARB (and EU competent authorities) formerly automatically recognised listed qualifications under Annex V.7.1 of the MRPQD for the purposes of registration in that country
  • UK– United Kingdom