Professional Qualifications Guidance
This guidance is aimed to supplement the information provided by the UK Government in their welcome packs and technical guidance. Please also see the useful links at the end for further details.
What professional qualifications are needed?
As in many countries, certain professions are regulated in the UK; this can either be via a ‘Regulated Profession’ or a ‘Protected Title’ in which membership is required to the regulator of this profession. Please note that all regulators are independent of the Government.
A Regulated Profession is a profession where there is a legal or regulatory requirement for a professional to register with a regulatory body prior to practising that profession. The regulatory body will be responsible for assessing the professional’s prior training and experience to determine if they are suitable qualified to practise.
A Protected Title is not regulated by law, but certain titles associated with these (Chartered, Professional or designatory letters linked to profession) are protected under the authority of a Royal Charter. These are managed by institutions, which membership is granted following an assessment of training and experience.
Whether you wish to continue in your profession or train for a new one in the UK, we strongly recommend you consult the UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UKCPQ) website in advance to understand if any Professional Qualifications are necessary. The UKCPQ maintains a listing of professions and if they are regulated or a protected title, they will also give you the contact details and membership pages for the institution.
Please note that some instances different areas of the UK have different regulators with different entry requirements, please check your relevant area.
How to apply?
In most instances we would recommend reaching out as soon as possible to the regulator or institution most relevant to the profession you wish to practise. Their contact details are on the UKCPQ website. Each regulator will have its own entry requirements and refugee policy, and their team will be able to advise and walk you through the process tailored to your situation.
You may also wish to contact the UKCPQ directly for any advice or support you may need to choose the right regulator, contact details can be found on their website.
Employers can enquire on employee’s behalf to the relevant regulator. However, please note that there will be a point where the process will have to revert to the applicant due to data protection. Employers also may wish to consider supporting your employees in attaining membership whilst employed, given the importance of experience and the inherent time to process applications and address any remedial work needed
How is the process adapting?
Each regulator will have its own process in place and will consider specific situations, therefore, in certain instances it may take longer to reach a conclusion. Please discuss your progress with your Work Coach, they will be able to offer advice and can provide feedback to the Government on regulators to inform ongoing discussions. However please note that each regulator is independent of the Government. The UKCPQ can also offer support and advice on the process and maintains relationships with each of the bodies.
If your profession is not listed as a Regulated Profession or a Protected Title then it is categorised as an unregulated profession, without legal requirements or restrictions. However, there could still be professional bodies for certification and registration on a voluntary basis. These bodies may provide codes of practise, industry recognition, or other useful standards.
The UKCPQ also provides useful information on Social Legislation that refugees may wish to familiarise themselves with.
- Welcome Pack for arrivals on the Afghanistan Locally Employed Staff Scheme
- Welcome! Guide for Ukrainians arriving in the UK
- UK Centre for Professional Qualifications
- UK Centre for Professional Qualifications – Social Legislation
- Arrangements for recognition of the professional qualifications – Technical Guidance