Qualifications Passport for Refugees
Qualifications Passport for Refugees (QPR) was proposed in 2015 with the intension to put in place a multinational framework to organise and establish a fast-track scheme to evaluate refugees’ educational and training background while still ensuring their mobility.
The methodology is a combination of document analysis and the use of a structured interview by qualified and experienced credential evaluators. The goal of the assessment is to map, summarise and present available information about the refugee’s educational level. This will provide credible and reliable information relevant in connection with applications for employment, internships, qualification courses and admission to studies.
The resulting document
The Qualifications Passport for Refugees is a standardised statement, which contains information that describes the highest achieved qualification(s), subject field and other relevant qualifications of the individual. In addition, job experience and language proficiency are described when substantiated and relevant. The idea is that this information should be accepted and easily interpreted both inside and outside the country in which the assessment has taken place, and the document has been issued. In the long term, this methodology can save costs for host countries by facilitating and accelerating the process of recognition of undocumented or non-verifiable foreign qualifications across borders in Europe and beyond.
You can read more about the backgroud, the methology and the resulting document at the bottom of this page.
Implementation of the scheme started with a successful testing in Norway in 2016 and establishing of a permanent supplementary interview-based evaluation procedure.
One year later the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR) was tested in Greece in a project run by the Council of Europe, Hellenic Ministry of Education – Research and Religious Affairs, and in cooperation with UNHCR and recognition offices from Greece, Italy, Norway (NOKUT) and the United Kingdom. The first documents were issued in Athens in March 2017.
Given the success of the pilot project, a three-year project was launched in 2018 to develop the EQPR further. The project’s second phase involves the Italian ministry of education as well as the recognition offices of Armenia, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands, in addition to the former partners. The project has so far received financial support from the ministers of education in Greece, Italy and Norway as well as from the Council of Europe.
In 2017–2018, the methodology for the Qualifications Passport for Refugees was successfully tested in Armenia, Germany and Italy within the scope of the Refugees and Recognition – Toolkit project led by NOKUT.
Both the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees and Refugees and Recognition – Toolkit projects are mentioned in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Recommendation on Recognition of Qualifications held by Refugees (adopted in November 2017) as examples of good practice and successful collaborative efforts towards implementation of the Article VII of the Lisbon Recognition Convention.
Small-scale tests of the methodology have also been performed in Armenia, Lebanon in cooperation with MERIC-net and the American University of Beirut, and Turkey.
Experience so far
The experience so far is that the Qualifications Passports do not only serve their main purpose of documenting qualifications but also have a substantial positive side-effect of building capacity in modern recognition methodology in higher education institutions and recognition agencies locally. As a structural element, it supports and strengthens global, regional, national and local initiatives for the inclusion of refugees into society, education systems and the labour market. Increasingly important, the Qualifications Passport is designed to have value across borders, in cases where the forced migrant is being resettled.
Towards a global scheme
There is now a potential to work together within a common framework to make the Qualifications Passports a global scheme for forced migrants. Increased cooperation within the field of recognition may in itself contribute to better systems for global recognition of qualifications. Collaborative efforts create trust between governments, higher education institutions and recognition offices, and trust is the foundation for the entire practice of recognition. With a UNESCO Global Recognition Convention scheduled for adoption in 2019, an introduction of a shared tool to recognise qualifications held by refugees would be timely.