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New EU work card will help professionals 17.10.13

A new European Professional Card due to be introduced across all member states will give people interested in working abroad the benefit of swifter and smoother recognition of their qualifications, writes Jessie Magee.
The EU has had a system for the mutual recognition of some 750 professional qualifications in different countries since 2005. However up until now, professionals have to apply to the authorities in the country they are moving to in order to get their qualifications recognised, often a tricky and cumbersome process. Under the new streamlined system, which is still in its draft stages, professionals can ask their home country to arrange their recognition abroad. Recognition procedures will be able to be completed online, and a new public EU database will set out all the information on the recognition of qualifications, including lists of competent authorities and documents required. The database will also explain which professions are unregulated; for example, florists and taxi drivers are not regulated in all member states. Seven professional qualifications are automatically recognised throughout the EU: doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, veterinary surgeons and architects.
Labour MEP and former mid-wife Phil Prendergast welcomed the vote in favour of the new Professional Card which she said will improve the ability of people to move and work in different member states.
Ms Prendergast also explained how she managed to amend the new legislation to close a loophole under which rogue medical professionals sometimes managed to secure work abroad. “We have included a new EU-wide alert system to notify all national authorities within three days, whenever doctors or nurses are struck off due to criminal convictions or disciplinary action. This will prevent them from moving to practice abroad,” she said.
The draft rules have been approved by the European Parliament, however they still have to get the green light from member states.
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