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Professional Qualifications Bill completes passage through parliament

6 April 2022

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The Professional Qualifications Bill returned to the Lords for consideration of Commons amendments in ‘ping pong’, on Tuesday 5 April.

The Professional Qualifications Bill makes provisions relating to overseas professional qualifications and their recognition in the UK.

Consideration of amendments

The bill was considered by the House of Lords between 25 May and 17 November 2021, before passing to the House of Commons for its consideration.

Members of the Lords considered Commons amendments (changes) to the bill relating to consultation with devolved authorities.

Catch up

Explore further information

Find out more about the bill in the House of Lords Library Professional Qualifications Bill briefing.

Read the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee report on the bill (3rd report).

Next steps

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final step of Royal Assent when it will become an Act (law).

Royal Assent is yet to be scheduled.

What's happened so far?

Third reading: Wednesday 17 November

Third reading is the chance for members to ‘tidy up' a bill, making any small changes to ensure it is effective. 

No changes to the wording of the bill were put forward ahead of third reading. Members discussed the progress of the bill through the House at the conclusion of Lords stages. 

Watch or read

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript

Report stage: Tuesday 9 November

Proposed changes

Members put forward changes (PDF) (amendments) to consider, including;

  • ensuring the list of UK regulators of regulated professions is published on a statutory footing
  • ensuring the ‘assistance centre’, being set up to help those wanting to study professional qualifications in the UK, receives the consent of the devolved administrations

Catch up on Parliament TV (part one and part two) or read a transcript in Lords Hansard (part one and part two).

Committee stage day three: Tuesday 22 June

Proposed changes

Members speaking discussed changes on a wide rage of subjects, including:

  • the duty of regulators to publish information on requirements to practise on their website
  • the duty of regulators to provide information to other regulators within or outside the UK

  • addition of a 'sunset' clause, meaning any regulations made under the Act would expire after four years.

Regulators of regulated professions list

Members were generally critical of the bill's drafting. They pressed the government on the purpose of the bill and urged it to provide a definitive list of regulators and professions covered by it before report stage.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read a Lords Hansard transcipt.

Committee stage day two: Monday 14 June

Members speaking discussed changes on a wide rage of subjects including the implementation of international recognition agreements, and recognition of foreign auditors and foreign audit qualifications.

Catch up on Parliament TV or read the transcipt in House of Lords Hansard.

Committee stage day one: Wednesday 9 June

Members speaking discussed issues including:

UK standards

The government put forward its own amendments (2, 3, 6) on additional conditions for overseas qualifications to meet a specified UK qualification.
Members, in particular those who are doctors and healthcare professionals, supported the government and the House agreed to these amendments without a vote. 


Members argued the independence of regulators from government is of vital concern.

They raised the issue of costs in dealing with overseas professional qualifications which fall short of UK standards, and said regulators should not be burdened with these.

Priority professions

Members discussed the maintenance of standards for priority professions, for example health and social care work, is particularly crucial.

They argued for a legal commitment in the bill to consult if regulators of these profession are required to open up their approval system further.

Find out about all the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the House of Lords Hansard transcript of the debate.

Second reading: Tuesday 25 May

Members debated the main areas of the bill at second reading. For example, a new framework for the recognition of professional qualifications gained overseas and international agreements on the recognition of professional qualifications.

Find out about all the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read a transcript in House of Lords Hansard

Image: Artur Tumasjan on Unsplash