European Specialists have naturally been concerned about the effect that “Brexit” might have on the recognition of their qualifications in different countries in Europe, both the UK and the rest of the EU, and their freedom to work as Specialists wherever they choose. The situation is complicated by professional recognition and the right to work in any country often being determined by different authorities.
Specifically with reference to the UK, the Veterinary Surgeons Act, in line with the EU’s Mutual Recognition of Qualifications Directive, allows non-UK European veterinarians to practise in the UK, and EBVS-recognised qualifications allow all holders to register as RCVS-recognised Specialists. However, regarding work permits, the situation is less clear. Once the process of leaving the EU is initiated, there is then a minimum negotiation period of two years during which the status of UK nationals in other European countries will be discussed alongside the status of non-UK, EU member state citizens in the UK. This may lead to some sort of protected status for those already employed in different countries, but is not yet determined. After the UK’s exit, the situation will depend on the nature of any restriction of movements of highly qualified professionals set by the UK government. As with other professions and areas of work, this is likely to depend on UK employment opportunities, and RCVS figures indicate that the UK is still a net importer of several hundred veterinarians (notably from the rest of the EU), per year.
EBVS has developed a very constructive relationship with the RCVS since the change in specialist listing requirements and will continue to monitor the situation and update Colleges and Diplomates as UK-EU negotiations progress.