On 28 March 2018, in Athens, the representatives of Greek authorities, universities, NGOs and UNHCR gathered for a launching conference of the second phase of the Council of Europe European Qualifications Passport for Refugees project (EQPR). Among the some 70 participants were the new countries who joined the project: Armenia, Canada, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
“We start the implementation of the new phase of the project with assessment sessions in Greece, Italy and possibly the Netherlands, starting in June/early July. The new phase includes more partner countries, a stronger role for the UNHCR, a more diversified group of refugees, stronger use of information technology, and a stronger involvement of those who have already received the EQPR through an Alumni Network. This second phase, which will last three years, will therefore be decisive in establishing the EQPR as a recognition tool broadly accepted in Europe”, said Sjur Bergan, Head of the Education Department.
During the new phase, refugees are going to be offered online interviews to a greater extent in order to reach regions outside the ordinary assessment sessions as well as other countries. In addition, the creation of an Alumni network for the Passport holders is planned and a new group of refugees claiming to have secondary education qualifications will be assessed. The aim of the three-year project is to help refugees to find jobs relevant to their studies or to be admitted to further studies in their host country.
73 passports were issued in 2017 during the pilot project initiated by Greek Ministry of Education, and the national recognition centres from Greece, Italy, Norway and the UK and the UNHCR Representation in Greece. The project is part of the Council of Europe Action Plan on Protecting Refugee and Migrant Children (2017-2019).