In the internal market, citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA) have the right to cross-border recognition of professional qualifications in regulated professions for which certain conditions need to be met. Also, professional service providers have the right of residence and the freedom to provide cross-border services.
In doing so, the competent authorities may provide the service of requesting a prior written statement (notification) of the intentions to provide services in their territory, which is sufficient to provide through the Single Contact Points for Services. In the case of temporary and occasional provision of services, the procedure of recognition of foreign professional qualifications is not carried out. However, in certain prescribed cases, the host country may check the professional qualifications of the person before the first provision of the service.
In order for a service provider to be able to provide its services permanently, to perform a profession in the host country, the procedure for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications must be provided. After the recognition of foreign professional qualifications, the person has the same access to the labor market as the citizens of the host country. This case involves permanent or long-term relocation and work in another Member State.
What are the procedures for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications (for the purpose of establishment in the host country)?
This system is valid for seven professions: doctors with basic training, specialized doctors, nurses responsible for general care, dental practitioners, specialized dental practitioners, veterinary surgeons, midwives, pharmacists and architects.
In these seven professions, the minimum content of education is prescribed and all educational programs are harmonized in all member states of the European Union. In practice, this means that persons, who have acquired their professional qualifications in these seven professions, and in accordance with the prescribed conditions, can quickly and easily exercise their right to work in the host country by going through a simple procedure for recognizing a foreign professional qualification.
In this full procedure for the recognition of qualifications, a person must demonstrate that he or she has the appropriate education and additional knowledge and skills, work experience and sometimes additional conditions required by the Member State, such as knowledge of the language of the host country.
In this recognition procedure, it is possible for the host country to require the candidate to have additional work experience (the so-called adjustment period, which can last up to three years) or a proficiency check. These are additional measures by which the host country, before issuing a permit to work in their area, wants to ensure that the person is truly qualified to work in the profession and that he is professionally qualified under the same (or at least similar conditions) as domestic citizens.
The general system of recognition is passed by all professions that are not covered by the automatic system and in cases when it comes to professions that are covered by the automatic system. However, the expert does not meet all the requirements for special and extraordinary reasons.
What is the difference between an educational and a professional qualification?
Foreign educational qualification means a formal title for a certain level of acquired knowledge, skills and competencies, which is proven by a foreign school certificate, diploma and other public document issued by the competent institution. Thus, an educational qualification is a qualification acquired upon completion of formal education, which is evidenced by a diploma, certificate or other public document issued by the competent educational institution.
Professional qualification, apart from educational qualification as a basic condition, implies a certain upgrade of knowledge and skills after formal education. It can be, for example, gaining certain work experience, passing a professional exam, obtaining approval for independent work from the competent chamber after meeting all prescribed conditions, etc.
Which bodies are responsible for the recognition of foreign educational and professional qualifications?
If a person wants to perform a regulated profession in the Republic of Croatia (according to the valid List of regulated professions in the Republic of Croatia) and has a foreign professional qualification to perform that profession, for example, has a permit for independent work of a foreign professional organization, that person recognizes all qualifications at competent authority for recognition of professional qualifications in the Republic of Croatia (at the competent chamber or ministry) and it is not obliged to specifically address the competent agency for its educational qualifications.
If a person has only an educational qualification acquired abroad (certificate or diploma), he will continue to recognize these qualifications required for employment in the open labor market in the competent educational agency (depending on whether it is a secondary vocational qualification or a higher education qualification). The Agency for Vocational and Adult Education is responsible for the recognition of foreign secondary vocational qualifications, and the Agency for Science and Higher Education is responsible for higher education qualifications.
The EU certificate is issued to Croatian legal and natural persons for the unhindered free provision of services on the internal market of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. When a person goes to work for the first time in another EEA country, the competent authorities of the host country may request Croatia to provide an EU certificate. It confirms that the person has a business residence in Croatia, that he or she has performed certain business activities and that at the time of issuing the certificate he or she does not have (even a temporary) ban on practicing the profession. The issuing of EU certificates is a good practice among Member States to enable European citizens more mobility in providing services and pursuing professional activities.
The EPC card is an electronic procedure for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications used for the following five professions: nurses / medical technicians for general and health care, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mountain guides and real estate agents. The EPC is not a physical card, but the information on the holder of the professional qualification is exchanged via Internal Market Information System (IMI) by the competent public administration bodies.
Assistance centre for providing information on the recognition of professional qualifications – National ENIC/NARIC Office of the Agency for Science and Higher Education – is responsible for providing citizens and contact points of other European Economic Area (EEA) Contracting States with:
The database also includes a password-protected section – data about the procedures of recognition of foreign professional qualification in Croatia (available only to competent authorities).
If you obtained your professional qualification in Croatia, and you want to work in another EU member state in a certain regulated profession, you can also contact the assistance centre in the desired Member State.
Competent authority and legislation
Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy
Agency for Science and Higher Education
National ENIC/NARIC office
Donje Svetice 38/5, 10000 Zagreb
+ 385 1 6274 888
Updated: 7 September 2020