“The EQPR would help to explain my educational background to the employer”, said one of the 29 Ukrainian refugees, who was interviewed during the EQPR evaluation session which was held on the 16-20th of May in cooperation with France Education International in Sèvres.
Out of the 51 candidates interviewed by the credential evaluators from European National Information Centres (ENICs) of Armenia, France, Germany and the Netherlands 44 will receive the EQPR. Among them there are 29 newly arrived Ukrainian refugees, residing in Italy and France.
As people with the right to temporary protection (Temporary Protection Directive, Council Directive 2001/55/EC), Ukrainian refugees should be able to engage in employed or self-employed activities and enjoy equal treatment with workers in the Member States. To facilitate the recognition of academic and professional qualifications and make it easier for employers and training institutions to understand the qualifications of Ukrainians arriving to the EU, the European Commission has published a Recommendation on recognition of qualifications obtained in Ukraine. This recommendation refers to the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR) as one of the measures to support assessment of refugees’ qualifications even in cases when no other solutions are possible.
This evaluation session demonstrated high value of the EQPR for the Ukrainian refugees with the qualifications in health-related fields, both in terms of opportunities for access to relevant jobs and further studies.
One of the youngest EQPR candidates, a newly educated dentist from Ukraine, Alina Slyvka (pictured), wishes to continue her studies and specialization in France and was pleased to get an opportunity to talk to the professional credential evaluators who were able to assess her educational background and provide her with the valuable information about opportunities for further studies in France, based on the assessment of her qualification and family situation.
Among the candidates with the health-related qualifications were highly qualified medical doctors, with many years of practical training and experience, in addition to highly qualified nurses with 20-30 years of work experience in the health sector. Almost all of them had been encouraged to obtain the EQPR by their current or potential employers in the Italian health sector. Based on the experience from including the refugees in the health sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy demonstrates an example of a country in which the public authorities have been open to making good use of refugees’ qualifications in health-related areas, under the supervision of duly licensed health professionals. In other countries, the obstacles can be more difficult to overcome, however the Italian example provides inspiration and hope for many other refugees.
The EQPR is a tool that was developed in 2017, to help Member States address the challenges brought by the refugee crisis, by building capacity for a sustainable response to possible crisis situations in the future.
The EQPR helps refugees to rebuild their lives in their host countries by giving them the opportunity to have their qualifications assessed even in cases with insufficient or lacking documentation. In this way, the EQPR supports the implementation of the Article VII of the Council of Europe/UNESCO Lisbon Recognition Convention facilitating the recognition of refugees’ qualifications even in the absence of full documentation. The EQPR is also part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025).
Partners include the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, UNHCR, the Conference of University Rectors of Italy, and national recognition centres in Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and the UK.