But number of EU architects joining Arb register also grows

The number of British architects registering to work abroad has rocketed in the last year, as people scramble to keep their options open after Brexit, new figures show.

Britain will leave the EU at 11pm tonight, three and a half years after the referendum in which 51% of the population voted to leave.

Figures from the Architects Registration Board released to Building Design show that it issued more than 730 certificates to work overseas in 2019, a 225% increase on the previous year.

Arb logo black square

In 2016, the year the referendum took place, just 105 were issued for the whole year.

The certificates are necessary for a UK-qualified architect seeking to work in the EU or further afield, and this is the main reason for requesting one from the Arb.

The Arb does not hold information on how many of the architects went on to register in an EU country and there is no consistent approach to data capture and sharing across member states. However, the sharp rise can be read as a snapshot of UK architects seeking to stop Brexit limiting their professional options.

A spokesperson for the Arb said: “The number of proof of qualification/registration certificates we have issued can offer an indication of what might be happening in terms of registration in Europe. But we are not routinely privy to the reasons behind certificate requests and it’s important to note that not every individual issued a certificate will go on to seek registration in Europe.”

Meanwhile, the number of European architects applying to work in the UK also rose last year, rallying after two years of falls after the referendum result which many initially interpreted as a sign they were unwelcome.

Confidence appeared to rally last year and the number of admissions to the Arb register rose from 836 to 958. This is still more than a fifth lower than the 1,232 non-UK EEA-qualified architects who joined in 2016.

The total number of EEA-qualified architects on the Arb register also rose last year, to 7,896 or 18% of the register.

Jill Showell, managing director of the London office of architectural recruitment firm Bespoke Careers, said the rise appeared to tally with an increase in activity they had noticed in recent months.

“Following the six-month Brexit extension granted in March 2019, there was a notable spike in confidence across both job seekers (of all nationalities) and employers, with the feeling that ‘life must go on’ and careers and businesses could not be put on hold any longer,” she said.

“This confidence has remained consistent ever since, with buoyant levels of activity across the job market.”

Proof of qualification certificates issued by the Arb

2019 732

2018 223

2017 169

2016 105