On 8 September 2020, the European Qualification Passport for Refugees (EQPR) Project Coordination Group met online to discuss the current status of activities and the way forward. The meeting was opened by Mr Henrik Asheim, Minister of Higher Education and Research of Norway, who recognised the difficulties refugees encounter when adapting to a new society and the importance of the EQPR for their lives. “Working your way into a new society would be hard for any of us. Doing it without a formal assessment of your education or skills is even harder”, said the Minister in his opening remarks.The Co-ordination Group discussed an online platform - soon to be launched - a specialized training course for evaluators and gathering testimonials from EQPR holders.The meeting brought together representatives from the 11 participating countries (Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, and the United Kingdom) as well as from the UNHCR and the Council of Europe.
Gaining increasing attention nationally and internationally, the European Qualification Passport for Refugees (EQPR) confirms its relevance at a time when more inflows of refugees are expected and societies need to find effective integration strategies. The project was recently listed among the OECD’s Observatory for Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) Case Studies. An initiative of the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the Observatory advises governments through highlighting best practices and transformative tools and supports member states in adapting similar ground-breaking actions. Refugees have also been able to use the EQPR to apply for a scholarship in Italy for the academic year 2020-2021, a further example of the momentum of the Qualifications Passport. 607 refugees have now been interviewed and 505 have received the EQPR.
The European Qualifications Passport for Refugees provides an assessment of the qualifications held by refugees based on available documentation and a structured interview. It also presents information on the applicant’s work experience and language proficiency. The document provides reliable information, in a standard format, for integration and progression towards employment and admission to further studies.