European Professional Card (EPC) | Update
The AMGA Technical Director Dale Remsberg and AMGA President Rob Hess recently traveled to Zermatt, Switzerland for the 50th anniversary of the IFMGA and the fall general assembly. Here is an important update in regard to the European Professional Card (EPC) from the meeting. The EPC allows EU Mountain Guides to work in other Member States by following the below steps. Please see below for the most current information on the EPC from the IFMGA.
Notes on the European Professional Card
The law. Since 2005, if you plan to work in another Member State (MS) – even for one day – you have by law to notify that state. Until now it has been by making a Prior Declaration, which has sometimes proved difficult; but from 18th January the EPC will be available to the first 5 professions: nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, mountain guides and real estate agents.
For whom. Nationals of an EU MS plus the three EFTA states Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein, as proved by your passport. The 4th EFTA state Switzerland, following its 2014 Referendum on immigration, is currently not included.
Qualification not Association. It is the professional qualification rather than the professional association which is recognized by the EU, which means that anyone fulfilling the requirements can still get an EPC, even though they may not necessarily be a member of the professional association.
Making an Application. Log on to www.europe.eu/youreurope . On the first time you apply, you will create an account and the answers you give to the questions will automatically direct you to your Home MS. You choose either a Temporary visit or Establishment – Establishment is settling in a country while Temporary seems to be everything else.
When you select the MS you wish to visit (Host MS), it will show which documents are required, although exactly which is not yet clear. For a Temporary EPC it is likely to be passport, IFMGA Diploma and Public Liability Insurance Certificate; plus CPD and declaration of no criminal conviction for Establishment; although it is possible that others may be required, depending on the Host MS.
Validity. 18 months for Temporary; indefinite for Establishment.
Health and Safety. The EU is waiting for MS to decide whether they consider there are Health and Safety issues with mountain guides. If there are, the process takes longer and the Host MS can require further training. This would definitely not suit us, but there are two escapes: (i) the EU Commission has said that the IFMGA Platform is so good that a Host MS could not require further training, and (ii) we could apply for Automatic Recognition whereby the Health and Safety issue would no longer apply. The process is then very quick and we fulfill the requirements for Automatic Recognition.
Home Member State (MS). Your home base is where you are stable, your country of legal establishment. Since you can be established in more than one country, in the context of the EPC it is where your main work is. Important factors are where you pay income tax and which mountain guide association you are a member of. Less important is where you own a house.
Non-EU states including Switzerland. Nationals of these countries can still apply to work in an EU state using the existing Prior Declaration system, so no change here. EU nationals living in a non-EU state and wanting to work in an EU MS can get an EPC by claiming that the EU MS where they trained as a guide is their Home MS.
E-mail Dale Remsberg
AMGA Technical Director