European Qualifications Passport for Refugees: integration through education and employment

Joint press release from UNHCR and the Council of Europe

European Qualifications Passport for Refugees: integration through education and employment

Strasbourg/Athens, 27.03.2018 - Since the beginning of what is often referred to as the refugee crisis in Europe, the recognition of refugees’ qualifications has become one of the main tools to integrate them into European societies.

Following a successful pilot project in 2017, which was supported by UNHCR in Greece, the Council of Europe is launching a new phase (2018-2020) of the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees: a capacity-building project aiming at assessing refugees’ education level, work experience and language proficiency of refugees in absence of full documentation thanks to a tested methodology. The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees describes the qualifications in a format that should facilitate the use of the assessment both within and beyond the refugees’ host country. Therefore, if refugees move to another country in Europe their qualifications do not need to be assessed again.

The launch event will take place at the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs in Athens on March 28th.

“With new partners involved, new refugee groups assessed and an increased use of online interviews, this project can really have an impact on the way current and future refugee crises are met in host societies” stressed Sjur Bergan, Head of the Education Department of the Council of Europe.

This new phase is supported by UNHCR and involves the original partners from Greece, Italy, Norway and United Kingdom, widening the scope to new actors participating from Armenia, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

UNHCR will continue identifying refugees from Greece whose qualifications shall be assessed as well as to promote the European Qualifications Passport.

“ The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees is a credible assessment that could be used by higher education institutions, employers and other integration stakeholders to facilitate and accelerate its holders’ integration into the host community”, said Roland-François Weil, UNHCR Representative to the European Institutions in Strasbourg.

The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees is of use to public authorities, institutions such as Universities and to employers to better assess refugees’ skills and help refugees access the job market or to be admitted to further studies in the host country.

Background

  • A study published in 2016 showed that some 70% of States Parties to the Lisbon Recognition Convention have taken few or no measures to implement the Article VII of the Convention that refers to the recognition of qualifications held by refugees that cannot be fully documented.

More information

Project webpage: https://www.coe.int/en/web/education/recognition-of-refugees-qualifications

Documentary webpage (long and short versions): https://www.coe.int/en/web/education/documentary-on-project-european-qualifications-passport-for-refugees

Contact : Giuseppe Zaffuto, Council of Europe Spokesperson/Press officer, Tel. +33 3 90 21 56 04

Céline Schmitt, Senior Public Information Officer/Spokesperson, UNHCR Representation in France, Tel: +33 (0) 1 44 43 48 55 ; Mob:  +33 (0) 6 23 16 11 78