Government signs UK-Swiss deal for mutual recognition of architects

The government has signed an agreement giving UK-qualified architects recognition in Switzerland and granting Swiss architects the same privilege in the UK.

The agreement was signed by business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch and Swiss federal councillor Guy Parmelin on 14 June and is expected to come into force in the first few weeks of 2025.

It will set in stone interim arrangements which have been in place since Brexit to prevent the recognition of UK architects in Switzerland from effectively falling away overnight.

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch

It follows a ‘landmark’ UK-US agreement signed between the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) in February. The two regulators agreed to ‘streamline registration processes and reduce costs and examinations’ without compromising on safety standards.

The Swiss agreement means the UK and Switzerland will recognise each others’ professional qualifications, so UK architects will not have to requalify to work in Switzerland, and vice versa, when the interim arrangements expire at the end of 2024.

Instead, UK architects will have to complete an application for recognition and will receive a decision within four months. Applicants will not need to be UK nationals to be recognised as architects in Switzerland, as long as they hold a UK architectural qualification. 

The deal will also safeguard the autonomy of UK regulators to independently set and maintain standards and decide who is fit to practise, according to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).  

UK firms can compete for Swiss business

The standalone agreement will become the first government-to-government recognition of professional qualifications following Brexit.

The DBT said the deal, which will remain in place indefinitely, could allow British firms to compete for more contracts in Switzerland. 

Business and trade secretary Kemi Badenoch said the deal between the two ‘services superpowers’ would help to grow the economy, by ‘boosting UK services exports, and encouraging new Swiss investment into the UK’. 

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