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UK NARIC takes part in urgent programme to evaluate skills of refugees with healthcare experience so they can support the effort against COVID-19

UK NARIC, the UK agency for international qualifications and skills, is taking part in a new programme to identify refugees with medical and nursing experience and evaluate and assess their qualifications, so that they can apply for emergency health and care jobs to support the effort against COVID-19.

UK NARIC is working on the scheme with its counterpart recognition agencies in Germany and France, and with the Council of Europe and the UN High Commission on Refugees.

Using UNHCR data and the networks of in-country refugee support organisations, individuals with suitable qualifications and experience are being identified now. Interviews to evaluate and assess their qualifications will begin in the next two weeks.

There are many refugees who are qualified doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists. As many of them have had to leave their home countries in conditions of crisis or war, they no longer have degree certificates or other evidence of their qualifications. A state of crisis in the home country means that checks with universities and authorities are often impossible. This is a major obstacle to harnessing the much-needed skills of these individuals.

UK NARIC was a pioneer in developing interview-based processes to overcome these problems. Experienced qualification evaluators and subject specialists interview refugees to arrive at a structured assessment of skills and qualification level.

In the last three years, UK NARIC has worked with a number of counterpart recognition agencies in Europe, and with the Council of Europe, to further develop these processes into a formalised European Qualifications Passport for Refugees (EQPR).

The new programme, an inter-agency collaboration developed as a response to the COVID-19 crisis, will enable the issue of EQPR qualifications passports to suitably qualified and experienced medical and healthcare personnel.

In the UK and European countries, there can be high thresholds for registration as practising professionals in medicine and healthcare, and these thresholds will still have to be met. However, the EQPR is an important first step, to enable the registration process to begin. EQPRs can also facilitate entry into a wide range of ancillary healthcare and support roles.

Numbers and scale are uncertain at this stage, until the UNHCR and partner organisations are able to review available data and records and undertake the necessary outreach work.

In a recent UK Government-funded one-year project in the Middle East, Syrians in Jordan (SIJ), UK NARIC succeeded in engaging with over 1,000 Syrian refugees, and issued more than 450 qualification recognition statements, bilingual in Arabic and English, and referenced to Jordanian educational standards.

The experience of the EQPR pilot schemes and the SIJ project mean that the processes for refugee interviews and the assessment of qualifications are ready to go, and can be put into operation without delay. The Council of Europe is financially supporting the new programme to enable interviews and assessments to be conducted by UK NARIC and its counterpart recognition agencies France Éducation International, and the ZAB in Germany.

 

 

23/04/2020 14:37:00
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