RECOGNITION OF QUALIFICATIONS IN THE EU – HOW TO DO IT

The basic rules for the recognition of qualifications in the EU

The basic rules for the recognition of professional qualifications in the EU are laid down in Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications. Directive 2005/36/EC is intended to allow citizens of EU Member States the recognition of qualifications to practise a regulated profession or activity in a Member State other than that in which the professional qualifications were obtained.

EU regulations aim to ensure that a fully qualified worker is entitled to exercise the same profession in another Member State. The recognition of professional qualifications enables the taking up or pursuit of a regulated profession or activity under the same conditions as persons who have obtained their qualifications in that State.

The general system for the recognition of qualifications

If the profession is regulated in Poland, a person who has obtained qualifications in another Member State needs official recognition. The recognition of professional qualifications is carried out by the competent authorities of the host Member State.

In the case of unregulated professions, employment of  a worker with qualifications obtained in another EU member country depends on the employer.

In proceedings on recognition, the competent authority shall verify:

  • an adequate level of education,
  • qualifications giving the right to practise the profession in question in the country in which they were obtained.

Where there are substantial differences between the education acquired by the person concerned and education required in the host Member State or the scope of profession the Member State may make recognition of professional qualifications  subject to undergoing by the applicant an adaptation period (lasting not more than 3 years) or passing an aptitude test (the compensatory measures — essentially at the choice of the person concerned). Find out more on the determination of compensatory measures by the authority for recognition of qualifications.

If the profession is not regulated in the applicant's Member State, it is required that, in addition to present evidence of formal qualifications, the person needs to confirm the practise of that profession in full-time for one year during the last ten years or present a document certifying completion of regulated education.

Which procedures your activity will be subject to in Poland depends, among other things, on whether it is a temporary measure or on a permanent basis. Read the articles Permanent exercise of a profession or activity in Poland by a foreigner and Temporary exercise of the unregulated activity in Poland as well as Occasional exercise of regulated professions in Poland.

From the publication Issue of a decision not to check the professional qualifications you can find out in which cases you do not need to undergo additional procedures related to the recognition of qualifications.

The system of automatic recognition for the sectoral professions

For sectoral professions recognition is automatic, provided that the applicant is in possession of documents certifying the qualifications (diplomas, certificates) listed in Annex V and VI to Directive 2005/36/EC. Recognition may also be granted on the basis of acquired rights.

Detailed information concerning procedures for automatic recognition of qualifications is  provided by the national and regional authorities of professional associations for the professions:

  • sectoral health professions:  medical doctor, dental practitioner, nurse, midwife, pharmacist,
  • veterinarians,
  • detailed information on the procedure for the recognition of qualifications in the profession of architect can be found in an online service of chambers of architects.

If an applicant does not fulfil the conditions for automatic recognition of qualifications in the sectoral professions, recognition may be carried out in accordance with the procedure (the so-called general system) for other regulated professions referred to (for persons wishing to pursue a regulated profession in Poland) in the Act of 18 March 2008 on the principles governing the recognition of professional qualifications acquired in Member States of the European Union.

If you want to know more on the subject please consult the information MNSW - Description of detailed rules for the automatic recognition of qualifications in Poland in the so-called sectoral professions.

System of automatic recognition of qualifications attested by professional experience in certain industrial, craft and commercial activities

The industrial, craft and commercial activities covered by Directive 2005/36/EC (Chapter II of Title III) are subject to the automatic recognition of qualifications attested by professional experience in certain conditions. The factors taken into consideration for the recognition of professional experience are its duration and form (e.g. self-employment, as an employee, manager of an undertaking).

The system is based on recognition of professional experience and subject to the conditions set out in lists I, II and III of Annex IV referring to various sectors such as:

  • industry:  textile, chemical and oil, printing, manufacturing, construction, etc.;
  • manufacture of transport equipment,
  • activity connected with transport activities,
  • telecommunications,
  • photographic studios, etc.,
  • restaurants and hotels,
  • services:  postal, personal, for local communities, leisure, etc.

A simplified system for the recognition of qualifications

For a person who has the right to exercise their profession in one of the EU Member States (country of residence), if he/she moves to another Member State (host) for the temporary and occasional exercise of the profession, the simplified procedure is foreseen.  The host State assesses the temporary and occasional nature of the provision of services, in particular in relation to its duration, its frequency, regularity and continuity.

The provisions of Directive 2005/36/EC concerning the simplified procedure for professional qualifications and it applies to all professions covered by the Directive, both in the case of self-employed persons and employed persons.  However, the simplified procedure shall be subject to a minimum of one year professional experience during the last ten years preceding the provision of services, or evidence of regulated education and training when the profession is not regulated in the Member State of establishment of the service provider.

If you want to carry out cross-border a regulated profession, see additional information available on the MNSW-Basic principles for the cross-border provision of services in regulated professions.

The rules for recognition of the qualifications of EU citizens to practise a regulated profession in Poland

If you are an EU citizen who intends to exercise the profession in Poland, belonging to the group of professions regulated in a continuous and permanent manner, you must obtain in our country decision on the recognition of your professional qualifications acquired in the country of origin.  Only a positive decision of the competent authority entitles you to work in Poland.

The biznes.gov.pl portal provides a thorough description of the procedures for recognition of professional qualifications in Poland.

The biznes.gov.pl porta descriptions relate to regulated professions, such as i.e.:

  • car appraiser,
  • dental assistant,
  • laboratory diagnostician,
  • physiotherapist,
  • paramedic,
  • detective,
  • carrying out, surveillance and management of geological work in particular categories,
  • asset valuer (estimation of property),
  • tax adviser,
  • teacher,
  • pharmacist.

The above list is indicative. If the profession you wish to practise in Poland is not on this list, see the full list - you can use the search engine Descriptions of procedures for recognition of professional qualifications.

Description of the procedure for recognising qualifications in order to work in a regulated profession in Poland, contains inter alia the following information:

  • the name of the body or bodies responsible for receiving applications and taking the decisions,
  • the statutory duration of the implementation of the application,
  • charges related to carrying out the procedure;
  • a description of the conditions which the applicant must meet (specifying qualifications, knowledge and skills, experience, etc.),
  • specifying any documents to be submitted, specifying the type of the document terminating the procedure,
  • the remedies and acts of national law governing the recognition of qualifications for the profession concerned.

Developed procedures describe step-by-step which activities you have to perform, and what requirements you must meet and which documents to submit in order to obtain approval for the pursuit of a regulated profession in Poland.  The positive decision of the competent authority on the recognition of professional qualifications in Poland, will enable you  to take up the same profession as that for which he is qualified in the home Member State, and to pursue it under the same conditions as the nationals of Poland.

The competent authority may make the recognition of a qualification by the applicant subject to undergoing an adaptation period consisting in exercising a regulated profession under the supervision of a qualified member of that profession (no more than 3 years) or  taking an aptitude test. More on this topic can be found here.

The conditions for recognition of the qualifications of a Polish national to pursue a regulated profession in an EU country

In case when you are a national of Poland and a profession you want to practise in a Member State other than Poland belongs to the group of regulated professions, you need to obtain recognition of your professional qualifications in the host Member State.

Where the host State requires to submit a certificate of professional experience in a regulated profession acquired in Poland, Polish competent authority to issue a certificate stating the nature, duration and type of activity is, depending on the province, Marshal or Voivodship Employment Office.

The full list of regulated professions in Poland and other EU Member States can be found in the regulated professions database run by the European Commission.

If you have any questions or doubts about the qualification recognition system in selected EU Member States please contact the appointed at national level information centre, where you can find out more about the national rules and to obtain advice on the legal provisions. In Poland the role of contact point for the recognition of professional qualifications is held by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Department for International Cooperation.

Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications

On 28 December 2013 was published the text of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council 2013/55/EU of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information system (the IMI Regulation).

The Directive introduces solutions to streamline the recognition of professional qualifications between Member States. Furthermore, requires Member States to review existing barriers to access to professions and repeals disadvantageous provisions relating to the recognition of the qualifications of Polish nurses and midwives, graduates of medical secondary and post-secondary education.

Zasady uznawania kwalifikacji reguluje Ustawa z dnia 22 grudnia 2015 r. o zasadach uznawania kwalifikacji zawodowych nabytych w państwach członkowskich Unii Europejskiej.

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