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Visiting European professionals

This guidance is for people who are qualified to practise as a social worker in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and want to practise in England on a temporary and occasional basis.

Visiting European professionals

Last updated: 26 November 2019


About this guidance

This guidance is for people who are qualified to practise as a social worker in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland and want to practise in England on a temporary and occasional basis.


Temporary declaration

If you’re a qualified social worker and legally allowed to practise your profession in the EEA or Switzerland, you can make a declaration to practise temporarily and occasionally in England.

Once you’ve made the declaration, you’ll be added to the Social Work England register on a temporary basis. You must only use the professional title used to describe the profession in your home state.

This must be in the language of that state to avoid confusion with the title of the profession in England. This means you cannot use the title ‘social worker’ or take on any temporary jobs that use this title (unless this is the title, in English, that you are entitled to use in your home state).

For more information see:


Eligibility

In order to make a temporary declaration to Social Work England you must:

  • be an EEA or Swiss national, or have similar acquired rights, for example through marriage (please see below for a full list of countries covered by the agreement)
  • be legally allowed to practise as a social worker (or an equivalent role in your home state) in the EEA or Switzerland and
  • have come to the UK to provide professional services on a ‘temporary and occasional’ basis, and provide to us information about the duration, frequency, regularity and continuity of those services

For more information see:


Scope of practice

As we will not assess your professional skills and knowledge against our own standards of proficiency, there are some limitations to how you can practise while you’re in England. As a visiting professional you must:

  • practise on a temporary and occasional basis only
  • use your home state professional title in a language of that state
  • practise within the scope of your home state profession and
  • either renew your declaration or apply for Social Work England registration if you want to practise in the UK for more than one year

As a visiting professional you must not:

  • use the designated title ‘social worker’ (which is protected in England by The Social Workers Regulations 2018)
  • practise in England on an established basis (for example by taking a full-time permanent position) or
  • perform temporary work (such as agency or locum work) where the job title for the post uses the title ‘social worker’

Temporary declarations are valid for 1 year but can be renewed. If you do renew your declaration, we may ask for more information about the nature of your work in these cases. If you wish to practise your profession in England beyond the scope outlined above, you must apply to join the Social Work England register.

For more information see:

Applying for a temporary declaration

To apply for a temporary declaration, you must complete a visiting European declaration form. You can request this form by emailing [email protected] or by calling 0808 1962274 Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

You’ll be asked to provide:

  • proof of EEA or Swiss nationality, or your entitlement to similar acquired rights (this must be a certified copy or scanned upload)
  • proof of your professional qualifications (this must be a certified copy or scanned upload) and
  • proof that you’re legally allowed to practise your profession in an EEA state or Switzerland

If you’re from the EEA but the profession is not regulated in your home state, you‘ll need to provide appropriate proof of having practised the profession in that state for at least one out of the last 10 years. This document must be an original.

All documents other than proof of your nationality must be translated to English. We only accept certified translations of documents.

For more information see:


Certifying your documents

If you decide to send your declaration to us by post, any supporting documents must be certified copies except where we have specifically requested the original. The list of supporting documents above shows which original documents are required and which may be certified copies of the originals.

To certify your documents, you’ll need to ask a person of standing in the community to confirm that any copies are true copies of the original documents. The person you ask should not be related to you, living at the same address, or in a relationship with you. A ‘person of standing in the community’ refers to a:

  • lawyer or notary
  • regulated health or social care professional
  • bank manager or other bank official
  • member of the judiciary or other judicial official
  • minister of the church, rabbi, imam or other recognised religious official
  • member of Parliament, other legislative body or local government authority
  • consular officer
  • teacher or lecturer
  • member of a regulated profession

To certify your documents, the person certifying your documents must compare each original document with the copy and write on the copy:

  • ‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original document seen by me’
  • their signature and full name
  • the date of certification
  • their occupation, professional address and phone number


Our professional standards

Before submitting your declaration to us, you must make sure you’ve read and understood our professional standards.


Submitting your declaration

You can email your completed declaration to us at [email protected]. Please make sure you attach scanned copies of the documents listed above. Any original documents will need to be sent by post to the address shown below. Alternatively, you can send your completed application, along with any supporting documents, to: Registration and Advice Team, Social Work England, 1 North Bank, Blonk Street, Sheffield, S3 8JY.


Processing your declaration

Please allow 1 month from when we receive your documents for your declaration to be processed. If your declaration is completed correctly and accompanied by all the required supporting documents, you’ll be added to the list of visiting social workers on our register. 

We may refuse to accept or renew a declaration if you give false information, withhold relevant details, or do not meet the criteria for making a temporary declaration. 

For more information see:


Renewing your declaration

A temporary declaration is valid for up to 1 year but can be renewed. We make decisions about whether or not to accept declarations on a case by case basis. This is to make sure only temporary and occasional services are being provided, as required by law.

Any declaration renewal must be accompanied by current and up-to-date evidence that you’re legally allowed to practise your profession in another EEA state or Switzerland.

For more information see:


Countries covered by the agreement

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland


Further information

For more information about temporary declarations, please call us on 0808 196 2274 or email us at [email protected]. You can also find more information on the European Commission’s website.

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