Directive 2005/36/EC, on the recognition of professional qualifications, applies to all EEA nationals wishing to practise a regulated profession in an EEA Member State other than that in which they obtained their professional qualifications. Its intention is to make it easier for certain professionals to practise their professions in EEA countries other than their own but due safeguards are provided in the assessment of the qualification for public health and safety and consumer protection.
For the purposes of the Directive, a regulated profession is defined as a professional activity access to which is subject, directly or indirectly, by virtue of legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions to the possession of specific professional qualifications. Where statutory registration does not exist for a profession in Ireland, non-Irish qualifications are assessed for their equivalence to the Irish entry-level qualifications required to work in the Health Service Executive.
Under Statutory Instruments Nos. 139 and 166 of 2008, which transpose the Directive into Irish law, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) is the Competent Authority for physiotherapists in Ireland.
The Directive does not provide for automatic recognition of professional qualifications in physiotherapy obtained in another Member State; it provides for an assessment, on a case-by-case basis, of the qualifications of an applicant against those required to practise in the host member state. Persons who wish to have their qualifications recognised must make an application to the ISCP and provide relevant supporting documentation. If the activities covered by the profession in the home and the host member state are not comparable, then the qualifications cannot be recognised. If the activities are comparable but deficits in the qualifications are identified, subsequent post-qualification professional experience of the applicant must be considered. If deficits still remain, the host Member State must offer an applicant a compensation measure, a choice of completing an adaptation period or taking an aptitude test.
Applications must be acknowledged within one month and the applicant informed of any missing document. A final decision must be communicated to the applicant within four months of submission of a complete application. Persons should not seek employment in their professional capacity in the publicly-funded health service in Ireland unless and until their qualifications have been recognised.
Further information on the Directive is available on my Department's website
(http://www.dohc.ie/public/foreignqualification/foreign_validation.html). Further information relating to the recognition of physiotherapy qualifications in particular can be found on the ISCP website