Big Ben bonged for Brexit after all (maybe) on January 1, and with it, the United Kingdom has formally left the European Union. A major trade deal was hammered out at the very last moment, but there’s one problem: Licensed architects from Europe can work in the U.K., but architects licensed in the U.K. are no longer recognized in 29 of the 30 European Economic Area (EEA) member states and Switzerland.
According to the Architects’ Journal, the failure comes from the expiration of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (MRPQ) Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC), meaning that all U.K. jobs requiring professional accreditation, apart from lawyers, will no longer have those credentials recognized across the EEA.
An agreement between the U.K. block and Ireland has already been reached for mutual professional qualification recognition. Otherwise, architects looking to practice in an EEA state must demonstrate competency (i.e., licensure) on an individual country-by-country basis.
Additionally, U.K. citizens are now only allowed to visit the E.U. for 90 days before requiring a long-term immigration visa.
At the time of writing, the U.K.’s Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is currently reviewing the interim arrangement while they try to hammer out a final arrangement, and is actively seeking input until January 22.
Of course, this move wasn’t without fair warning; the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board (ARB, responsible for the actual licensure) have been warning practitioners for months that Brexit would upend their practices and hoped their members would plan accordingly.
The ARB has also put together a comprehensive “E.U. Exit” page to help U.K.-based architects navigate the now convoluted process of operating internationally and will also be weighing in as the government decides on a future system of mutual recognition among European architects.