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Policy Information

Recognition of Qualifications in the Department of Health

Published: 3 July 2019
From: Department of Health

Directive 2005/36/EC on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications

Directive 2005/36/EC applies to European Economic Area (EEA) nationals with EEA qualifications who wish to practise a regulated profession in an EEA member state other than that in which they obtained their professional qualifications, on either a self-employed or employed basis.

Its intention is to make it easier for qualified professionals to practise their professions in European countries other than their own.

Public health and safety and consumer protection are safeguarded through the qualification recognition process.

European Commission

It is the responsibility of each applicant to inform themselves about Directive 2005/36/EC.

The European Commission website provides detailed information on the Directive, including:

  • a list of National Contact Points for the Directive. The National Contact Point in the member state in which your professional qualification was obtained can direct you to the relevant competent authority there to assist you in relation to documentary evidence on eligibility to practise and other Directive related matters
  • information on the European Professional Card. This is an electronic procedure which can currently be used by general care nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mountain guides and real estate agents to have their qualifications recognised
  • information on providing services on a temporary basis in another member state
  • frequently asked questions


The Commission website also provides guidance for stakeholders on the legal consequences on regulated professions and recognition of professional qualifications of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.

UK nationals and people with UK qualifications should pay particular attention to this.

Recognition of Qualifications for Establishment under the General System of the Directive


Establishment refers to the pursuit of a profession in compliance with the rules relating to professional qualifications, including the related training conditions, and all the rules specific to the pursuit of the profession.

Qualification recognition

Qualification recognition is the process whereby certain non-Irish professional qualifications are assessed under Directive 2005/36/EC for their equivalence to Irish entry level qualifications for recruitment to the Irish publicly-funded health sector. These qualifications may be subject to amendment from time to time by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

These professions cannot be employed in the publicly-funded health sector unless their qualifications have been recognised by the relevant competent authority.

Processing time periods

Applicants should be aware that the recognition process can take some time. Therefore, you should not apply for positions until your qualifications have been recognised. The Directive requires that applications must be acknowledged within one month and the applicant be informed of any incomplete information or missing document.

A final decision must be communicated to the applicant within 4 months of submission of a complete application.

General system

The general system provides for an assessment, on a case-by-case basis, of the qualifications of an applicant against those required to practise in the host member state. If the activities covered by the profession in the home and the host member state are not comparable, then the qualifications cannot be recognised. If the activities are comparable but deficits in the qualifications are identified, subsequent post-qualification professional experience of the applicant must be considered.

If deficits still remain, the host country must offer an applicant a compensation measure, i.e. a choice of completing an adaptation period or taking an aptitude test.

It is therefore important that applicants submit full information on all relevant post-qualification work experience. Applicants should read the requirements of the recognition process in relation to specific professions at the relevant links below.

Witnessing of supporting documentation

Please see the note on witnessing of documentation for advice on submission of documentation.

Statement of equivalence

If granted recognition, a statement is issued to the applicant advising that the professional qualification they possess is equivalent to the Irish entry-level qualification and that the applicant is eligible for consideration for employment in the Irish publicly-funded health sector.

Suitability for a particular post, including inter alia, qualification, fitness to practise, language proficiency and Garda vetting, if appropriate, is a matter for the individual employer.

This statement is not time-limited. It is a valuable document and should be retained in a safe place. It is suggested that notarised copies be used for the purpose of recruitment and the original retained by the applicant as it may be required for future recruitment.

Statutory registration of health and social care professionals

It is the responsibility of successful applicants to ensure compliance with any future requirement in relation to statutory registration. The Health and Social Care Professionals Council at CORU has been established to provide for statutory registration of many categories of health and social care professions.

It is anticipated that registration for such professionals will become a requirement over the coming years.

Temporary Provision of Service

The Guidelines for Service Providers describe the requirements of the Directive in relation to temporary service. This applies where a service provider (i.e. a self-employed person) intends to move to Ireland to pursue, on a temporary and occasional basis, the profession which they are legally established to provide in their home member state.

It does not apply to employees or to any people (self-employed or otherwise) working on a continuous and stable basis in the host member state. It applies in Ireland to those health professions for which statutory registration exists (i.e. doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacists).

Temporary service does not apply to any of the other professions listed on this web page as the recognition process is for the purpose of recruitment to the publicly-funded health sector only; people can be employed in the private sector or be self-employed without having their qualifications recognised.

Irish Health Competent Authorities

A list of Irish Health Competent Authorities under the Directive is available. All queries on the recognition of qualifications and on temporary provision of services should be addressed to the relevant competent authority.

The Minister for Health is the competent authority for several health and social care professions. The HSE administers the process on behalf of the department in respect of the following profession:

  • Chiropody/Podiatry

Information on the process in respect of this profession is available at: https://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/jobs/validation/.

The Department of Health, through the Validation Unit (validation_unit@health.gov.ie ), administers the process in respect of the following professions. Please go to the relevant link below for information on the application process for that profession:

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