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Free movement of professionals

Free movement of professionals

Professionals in the EU can move across borders and practice their occupation or provide services abroad. These webpages provide practical information on EU legislation governing the recognition of professional experience in the EU.

Policy developments

The system of recognition of professional qualifications in the EU is governed by Directive 2005/36/EC, recently amended by Directive 2013/55/EC. The directive provides a modern EU system of recognition of professional experience and promotes automatic recognition of professional experience across the EU.

Latest policy developments

Recognition of professional qualifications in practice

In practice, the recognition of professional qualifications laid down in Directive 2005/36/EC enables the free movement of professionals such as doctors or architects within the EU. Other professions, such as lawyers or sailors, fall under the scope of different legislation.

The recognition of professional experience in practice

Transparency and mutual evaluation of regulated professions

To clarify the status of regulated professions in the EU, the European Commission conducted a transparency and a mutual evaluation exercise.

Transparency and mutual evaluation

Database of regulated professions

The database of regulated professions contains information on regulated professions, statistics on migrating professionals, contact points and national authorities in EU countries, EEA countries and Switzerland.

Economic studies

The Commission contracted several independent economic case studies, conducted at country level, to analyse the effects of reforms of regulatory requirements to access professions. The results of these studies demonstrate that, for the cases analysed, less restrictive regulation can have a positive impact on the labour market.

Four case studies on the economic effects of reforms of regulated professions

Supporting information

Documents

Information on EU websites

Contact points

  • National authorities
  • Assistance centres - these provide information on the recognition of professional qualifications in every EU country and guide professionals through the administrative formalities.

  • National websites on regulated professions
  • Single Points of Contact- professionals may also consult the single points of contact to carry out all the administrative procedures electronically.
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