Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that EU workers’ qualifications and registrations will be recognised in the UK after Brexit, even if Britain exits the EU without a deal. This has been made possible by legislation introduced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

All the regulatory bodies for the health and social care sectors will recognise EU workers’ training and experience post-Brexit, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council; the General Medical Council; General Pharmaceutical Council; General Dental Council; and the Health and Care Professions Council.

This means up to 63,000 NHS staff and 104,000 social care workers who qualified in the EU will have their training and experience accepted. Their employment contracts will not need to be changed if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and staff will not have to re-apply for their current jobs to work after Brexit.

Matt Hancock announced: “My message to EU staff is clear — we all want you to feel valued and stay in the UK. My priority is to make sure high standards are maintained across the healthcare system and patients continue to receive the high-quality care they deserve — this legislation helps ensure that will continue to be the case.”

EU workers are also being encouraged to apply to the free “EU Settlement Scheme”, which re-opened on 30 March. Those who have lived in the UK for five years or longer can apply for “settled status”, while those who have lived in the UK for under five years can apply for “pre-settled status”.

NHS Employers Chief Executive and Cavendish Coalition Chair Danny Mortimer welcomed the announcement that the UK will recognise the qualifications of EU professionals in a no-deal situation. He said: “We have been clear that we must continue to embrace the vital contribution of our talented colleagues from overseas in caring for our patients and communities ... We would hope for similar confirmation of recognition for those with UK qualifications working in the EU.”

However, Care England Chief Executive Martin Green said: “I welcome the Secretary of State’s assurance that EU workers will have their qualifications and registration recognised after Brexit.

“That said, it seems incomprehensible that two and a half years after the referendum the Government is only now issuing these assurances a few days before Brexit.”

Last reviewed 10 April 2019