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Regulated Professions

Some professions are regulated (i.e. medical doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.), while others are not. A profession is regulated if the national legislation of the host country stipulates that specific requirements need to be met in order to be allowed to practise this profession. In regulated professions, you need a license or certificate from a regulatory body in order to work and use the specific job title associated with that career. This often applies to occupations in the health, safety and social services sectors. Every country has its own list of regulated professions.

Whether you are planning to emigrate permanently, to go abroad temporarily or to return to your home country to start working after completing studies abroad, it is imperative that you enquire about the status of your chosen occupation, how to have your qualifications evaluated, and what additional steps you may need to take before you are authorised to practise.

There are essentially two ways to regulate occupations: 

  • the use of specific titles is controlled (for instance, the title “certified translator”), but one can practise without other restrictions, or 
  • the practice of the profession is restricted (for instance, medical doctor): it is legally forbidden to practise the profession unless specific requirements are met.

Additionally, even if an occupation is not formally regulated, there may still be restrictions to employment: Employers may impose specific requirements, like membership in a professional association or possession of certain academic credentials. With some professions (especially where the practice is controlled), quotas may also exist.

Finally, if emigrating, you should enquire about residence/immigration requirements (visas, temporary permits, vaccinations, etc.), and the time required for the various procedures.

Further information:

  • The ENIC-NARIC National Information Centre (see the list of countries) is able to assist you or to direct you to the appropriate source of information.
  • In accordance with Directive 2005/36/CE, the EU countries have established national assistance centres to help you with the recognition of your professional qualifications and guide you through the administrative formalities.
  • To check if a profession is regulated in a certain EU country, please visit the Regulated Professions Database: it contains information on the regulated professions covered by Directive 2005/36/CE, statistics on migrating professionals, contact points and competent authorities. This applies to professions regulated in the EEA countries (EU members plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland) and Switzerland.
  • For more detailed information on professional recognition procedures in other countries, please visit the Recognition Conventions section of the present website and/or contact directly the national authority of the country concerned.

See also:

EURES – European cooperation network of employment services: The EURES partners provide information, placement and recruitment services to jobseekers within the European Economic Area (EU members plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland) and Switzerland.

YourEurope: This European Commission website provides practical for citizens looking to live and work in another EU country.