Britain is officially exiting the European Union (EU), but what does that mean for you? 

Will you still be able to work in the UK? Can you still apply for registration as a health professional? Will it affect your ability to travel freely around Europe? 

On the 31st of January 2020 the UK officially left the EU, and is now in a “transition period”, expected to last until the 31st December 2020 (at this stage, but given their track record with deadlines I reckon this might be extended). 

During this transition there’s loads of stuff going on in the background as all the logistics are arranged and trade deals negotiated, but essentially the UK will function as though it is still part of the EU for the rest of 2020.

Let’s look at the position this leaves you in at the moment (but be sure you keep up to date with more official and in depth information, this is just my brief summary for your benefit!):



Citizens of the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) already in the UK wishing to stay after 2021 will probably need to apply for the Settlement Scheme or Citizenship to remain. Head to the gov.uk site for all the official details. How new applicants will be treated from 2021 is yet to be seen. 

If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA country (e.g. you’re from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, the USA…) your rights aren’t affected by Brexit. If you’ve already got your visa, you can stay until it expires as usual. If you haven’t got a visa, what are you waiting for? Get applying and get over here! I explain how in this article. 


Registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

Yep, you can still apply. 

For now, the HCPC are processing all applications as normal for the duration of the transition period. The negotiated terms of any trade deal will determine what happens from the 1st of January 2021. 

If you’re already registered, then you will remain registered no matter where you received your qualification. 

For new applicants who obtained their qualification outside the UK and would usually apply through the international application route, there will be no change at this stage. The HCPC will accept your application and process it as normal, so head to my article here to find out what you need to do!

For those who qualified in the EU and would normally apply through the European Mutual Recognition (EMR) scheme, if your application is received before the end of the transition period the HCPC will process it as usual. However, there may be some changes from the 1st of January 2021 depending on negotiations. 


Travelling throughout Europe

Travel in Europe and the Schengen Zone particularly is going to change quite a bit from 2021, but not due to Brexit. Brexit will really only have significant ramifications for British passport holders wishing to travel in Europe. 

If you haven’t heard of the Schengen Zone or don’t know much about it, you can read my article here about how the system currently works.

Come 2021 there will be a new system in place known as EU Travel Information and Automation System (ETIAS). ETIAS is basically a visa waiver, allowing visa free travel throughout the Schengen Zone for the usual 90 days in any 180-day period, valid for 3 years. 

Tourists from certain countries (listed here) who do not need a Schengen Visa to travel, will pay €7 to apply for ETIAS instead. If Brexit goes ahead, it may mean that Brits are included on this list, depending upon negotiations. 

Again, this has nothing to do with Brexit. ETIAS is a separate strategy that has been in the pipeline for many years in an attempt to increase security measures throughout Europe. I’ll write more about this in the future as things develop.

As for any other effects Brexit is expected to have? I’m sure there will be many ramifications that we won’t be able to predict.

In my very unprofessional, ill-informed, naïve opinion, Brexit is not something that should deter you from coming to live and work in the UK if it’s something you’ve got your heart set on. While there are still a few unknowns, the risks are low, and there is so much to gain from venturing to British soil!


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