Can a qualified electrician from any other country work in the UK?

by Editor on April 29, 2012

I frequently get enquiries from foreign electricians asking if their qualifications are recognised in the UK. Electricians from Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe can find that their electrical training and skills are compatible with the systems in this country. This post may help qualified electricians from abroad understand where to get more info about working in Britain.

ECS Card for Electricians

I’m sure there’s nothing to prevent an electrician from anywhere overseas from working in the UK if they have the correct documentation and can find a job.

Anyone working as an electrician in Britain would obviously need to be familiar with the wiring systems used in the UK which are covered by the IET Wiring Regs, the Building Regs and the Electricity At Work Regs.

If you have recognised qualifications and belong to an electrical trade association in your own country then you could ask them for advice about working in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The main electrical trade bodies in England and Wales are the NIC EIC, the ECA and the JIB, so it may be worth getting some info from their websites and giving them a call.

Part P

Electricians who want to self-certify their own electrical work under Part P of the Building Regulations will need to be approved and registered with one of the main trade associations or   self-cert scheme providers.


You’ll probably find that you’ll be asked if you have an ECS ID Card, especially if you are applying for the job of an electrician which is involved in the construction industry.

ECS stands for Electrotechnical Certification Scheme. ECS is the only ID and competence card scheme for Electrotechnical operatives in the UK, and it’s recognised and endorsed by the industry.

Holding an ECS card means you can prove your identity, your qualified status and your occupation when working on-site. It is affiliated to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). The CSCS Scheme applies across the UK and in Northern Ireland it’s called the Construction Skills Register (CSR).

Different types (colours) of CSCS card apply to different trades and levels of competence or qualification and the ECS card is the one that’s relevant to the Electrotechnical Industry.

If you don’t have the correct certification to work in the electrical industry then a CSCS card may enable you to work on site as an operative or a labourer.

You could contact the ECS card helpline and they would be able to give you more information about how you could get one.

Visit the ECS Card Website.

I hope this helps. Your comments are welcome below.

More articles about Training For Electricians.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

GIANNI July 22, 2017 at 09:26

Hi . My name is Gianni .I’m 28 years old and I’m from Greece.
I have a Diploma as an Electrician.
I would like to know what I have to do so I can work it he UK.?

Thanks in advance.
Hi Gianni. I recommend that you contact the ECS card helpline and they would be able to give you more information about how you should proceed.

Antonie Nel January 15, 2014 at 21:04

Hi there ,

Just would like to know if anybody can help me. Ive got an Trade Tested Electricians Qualification ( Red Seal) from South Africa & wanting to work in the UK do I need my qualifications to be assessed?

Many thanks
Antonie Nel
Hi Antonie
You may find some useful info here-

All the best

Gerard September 3, 2012 at 14:39

thanks alot
this post was a great help to me


Gerard Newman

Editor- Thanks Gerard. All the best- Steve.

Editor September 3, 2012 at 10:24

Some forum comments about Irish electricians wanting to wor in the UK…
Just so long as you’ve got your 17th, I can’t see how you will have any worries – same as Kiwis and Aussies don’t. Try giving the JIB a call and see what they can do for you, or advise. From my own experience of dealing with foreign trained sparkies – from english speaking countries, anyway. They have all been very intelligent and knowledgeable lads. But at the end of the daymate, if the JIB will grade one legged, illiterate polish immigrants; then I don’t think that you will have any problems.
If your gonna go self employed then I wouldnt bother with the JiB, Ive never been asked by any householder yet to see my quals or JiB card theyre only for the proper big companies happy to pay you a real wage, Even with a JiB Card its unlikely that any site nowadays actually pays JiB rates but insist you have a card its a joke!!
Only pay for Tradesman Insurance if your working as a legit tradesman in properties otherwise if your subcontracting via job agencies then the third party pay company that takes a cut erm….cough cough i mean pays your wages will take around £20 per week for the privelage and usually includes Public Liability Insurance whilst you on site only-working for your agency!
Good Luck.
Oh and if you dont have your NVQ 3/ AM2/ Level 2&3 2330 techcert/ 17th edition then you have no chance of getting a JiB Sparks card.
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