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Recognition of professional qualifications

EU citizens, nationals of EEA countries (Island, Liechtenstein and Norway) and of Switzerland can pursue a “regulated profession” in Italy after obtaining the recognition of their diploma or professional qualification.

The EU Directive 2005/36EC of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications defines the ‘regulated profession’ as the professional activity or group of professional activities, access to which, the pursuit of which, or one of the modes of pursuit of which is subject, to the possession of specific professional qualifications.

In Italy the recognition of professional qualifications is regulated by Legislative Decree No 206 of  6 November 2007, through which Italy has transposed the said Directive.

By Legislative Decree No 15 of 28 January 2016, Italy then transposed Directive 2013/55/EU updating the previous Directive 2005/36/EC and introducing new rules to facilitate the free movement of professionals within the EU.

Each Member State is free to regulate access to and practice of a regulated profession and to set related requirements, so long as national rules comply with the principles of non-discrimination, proportionality and necessity.

The list of regulated professions in Member States, EEA countries and in Switzerland is available on the European Commission website, including also competent authorities.

Directive 2005/36/EC establishes provisions for the recognition of professional qualifications in case of establishment in other EU country and of temporary mobility.

As for establishment in another EU country, in Italy EU professionals are allowed to practise their profession permanently after obtaining the recognition of their diploma or professional qualification issued in another EU country.

As for temporary mobility, they can provide services temporarily upon written preliminary declaration.

Finally, Directive 2013/55/EU has laid down that five professions (pharmacist, physiotherapist, general care nurse, mountain guide and real estate agent) may have their qualification recognised both for establishment and temporary mobility by applying for the European Professional Card (EPC).

European Professional Card

The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure available since 2016 to obtain recognition of one's professional qualifications for the purpose of pursuing a regulated professions in another EU country.

Right of establishment

Citizens of the European Union, of the countries of the European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein) and of Switzerland holding a professional qualification in their country of origin, can access and practise their profession, if regulated in another EU Member State after having their qualification recognized in that Member State.

Freedom to provide services

The freedom to provide services may be carried out in Italy on a temporary and occasional basis by a citizen legally established in another EU country, in the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or in Switzerland, where said citizen practices the same profession.

Right of a appeal against the decision of the competent authority

The professional is allowed to appeal against a negative decision of the competent authority under Italian law.

Language skills

Directive 2005/36/EC provides (Article 53) that beneficiaries of recognition of the professional qualification must have the linguistic skills necessary to practice the profession in the host EU country.

Assistance Centre

Assistance Centres for the Recognition of Professional Qualifications are established by Article 57-ter of Directive 2005/36/EC. In Italy, the Centre operates under the Department for European Policies.

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