Since January 2016 in selected professions recognition of professional qualifications can be conducted or one can declare his intention to provide cross-border service in another EU country through obtaining European professional card.
European professional card — is an electronic document constituting evidence of:
- recognition of professional qualifications in another Member State of the EU or
- fulfilment of the conditions for the lawful provision of a cross-border service in another EU Member State (temporary and occasional exercise of a regulated profession or regulated activity).
At present the possibility to receive the EPC concerns the following professions:
- physiotherapist (responsible for the EPC is the Ministry of Health)
- a pharmacist (responsible for the EPC is the Polish Pharmaceutical Chamber),
- a nurse responsible for general care (responsible for the EPC are District Chambers of Nurses and Midwives),
- mountain guide (responsible for the EPC is the Ministry of Sport and Tourism),
- real estate agents (responsible for the EPC is the Ministry of Infrastructure and Construction)
The procedure for obtaining the EPC
In contrast to the traditional procedure where the applicant or the service provider contacts exclusively the competent authority in the Member State in which he/she intends to recognise the qualifications or provide a cross border service, the EPC application shall be submitted through a pan-European website dedicated to this to the competent authority for the relevant regulated profession in the sending country.
Polish citizens who travel abroad may transmit the request for a card to the Polish institution competent for a specific profession. In turn, the holder of qualifications from another Member State to recognise this qualification in Poland or to provide services in Poland will submit such a request to the authorities of their own State.
The application shall be accompanied by copies of relevant documents in electronic forms (a detailed set of documents required for the profession concerned and for a type of procedure will be available on the website, through which the application is made; it is in principle the same as in the traditional procedure). In the subsequent steps of the procedure they will be made available both to the competent authority in the sending country and for its counterpart in the host State. It is possible by relying the whole procedure on electronic Internal Market Information System (IMI).
The recognition of professional qualifications or the provision of cross-border services for professions having public health or safety implications
When applying for recognition of qualifications and in the case of declaration of the intention to provide cross-border services in another country in the profession or regulated activity which in that State is considered to be connected to public health and safety, the procedure takes place in two phases.
The competent authority of the sending Member State , after having received the application or declaration, shall verify the completeness of documents. In the case of the deficiency it shall invite the applicant to complete them. Furthermore, the authority verifies the validity and authenticity of documents. Where necessary, attaches to the documentation required certificates of qualifications, whose issuance falls within its competence. Next, the documents are approved and the request is forwarded to the competent authority in the host Member State and the applicant is informed of this fact.
The competent authority of the host Member State, on the basis of already prepared documentation, compares the applicant's qualification with what is required in their country and decides on their recognition. If authority finds that there is a lack of skills or knowledge in relation to the requirements in force in the host State, as in a traditional procedure, may make the issuance of the professional card subject to undergoing an adaptation period (a period of practice, under the supervision of a fully qualified person) or passing an aptitude test (an applicant's choice). In the case of a declaration of the intention to provide services, due to the shorter time limits, an aptitude test is applied.
In order to ensure the smooth conduct of the procedure the competent authorities of the sending State and the host will maintain contact through electronic means in case of doubts regarding the documents or the specificities of the profession.
In complex cases, authorities have the possibility to extend the deadline for issuing the card, but both the circumstances and the period of possible prolongation are strictly defined by rules. The applicant shall be informed of any such extension and of the reasons for it.
Upon successful reply to an application, the competent authority of the host Member State shall issue the European professional card in the form of electronic document available via the website on the applicant's account. Any refusal to issue the card must be duly substantiated and the same as in decision issued in the traditional procedurę, it is subject to appeal.
The card shall be valid for as long as the applicant has the right to pursue a regulated profession or activity, on the basis of the documents and information contained in the IMI system.
Cross-border services and professions not having public health or safety implications
In the case of application for a European professional card in order to provide a cross-border service in professions, which are not related to the public health or safety in the host State, the card is issued, following the verification of the documents by the competent authority of the sending State. Then transmits it to the competent authority designated by the service provider of the host State, what replaces a declaration by the service provider to the competent authority of the host Member State. The service provider shall be informed of this fact.
Unlike the traditional statement which is to be submitted again for every year in which one intends to provide the service, the validity of the card is 18 months (if the service provider continues to fulfil the legal conditions necessary to provide cross-border services). If the service provider intends to provide services after the expiry of that period, he or she shall inform the institution which has issued the European professional card in order to extend its period of validity.
In accordance with the Act of 22 December 2015 on the principles governing the recognition of professional qualifications acquired in Member States of the European Union for issuance of the European professional card the fees are as follows:
- a fee equivalent to 35 % of the minimum wage in force in the year of issuance of the card (concerns holders of qualifications acquired in another Member State outside Poland who apply for recognition in Poland, as well as service providers established in another Member State who wish to provide a cross border service in Poland in one of the professions which are deemed to be related to public health or safety and are bound by the check of qualifications); this fee is required regardless of whether the sending State has collected the fee previously for the verification of documents;
- a fee equivalent to 3 % of the minimum wage in force in the year of issuance of the card (concerns providers permanently established in Poland and applying for a card in order to provide services in another Member State in the profession which in that State is not regarded as related to the health and safety of general public).
The fee shall be paid into the account of the competent authority.
The holder of the European professional card may request, through IMI system to the competent authority or the institution to:
- update, complete and/or correct information concerning him/her contained in the IMI system;
- blocking of card;
- removing the documents relating to him/her from IMI (in this case the competent authority shall issue a decision on the recognition of qualification in paper form).
Detailed rules for the European professional card were laid down in the Act of 22 December 2015 on the principles governing the recognition of professional qualifications acquired in Member States of the European Union and Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/983 of 24 June 2015 on the procedure for issuance of the European professional card and the application of the alert mechanism pursuant to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council