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From Surviving to Thriving: Recognizing the Skills and Credentials of Refugees

As the world becomes increasingly dependent on the skills of its workforce, the recognition of the skills and qualifications of refugees has become an increasingly pressing issue. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that 117.2 million people will be forcibly displaced or stateless in 2023 alone. The skills gap affects refugees is by limiting their ability to find employment that is a good match for their skills. Many refugees may have skills and qualifications that are not recognized or prove difficult to validate in their host country. Unfortunately, the lack of recognition of their qualifications can make it difficult for refugees to find employment and build a future in new home country and ever cross the divide of the skills gap.

When it comes to the transferability of skills, refugees often face the challenge of having their qualifications and skills recognized in a new country. Different countries have different educational systems and accreditation processes, which can make it difficult for a foreign qualification to be recognized as equivalent to one from the host country. This can make it challenging for refugees to prove their qualifications to potential employers or educational institutions and can limit their ability to find employment that matches for their past skills and experiences.

Translatability is another challenge that refugees face. Language barriers can make it difficult for refugees to communicate their skills and qualifications to potential employers or educational institutions. This can be further compounded by cultural differences, which can make it difficult for refugees to navigate the job market or educational system in a new country.

Transparency is also an issue that refugees face. Many refugees may have lost their educational and professional documents during their displacement, which can make it difficult for them to prove their qualifications. This can make it difficult for employers and educational institutions to understand the individual’s qualifications and skills and recognize how and where to place them. The UNHCR recognizes that refugees and stateless individuals often face significant challenges in having their skills and credentials recognized outside of their home country. The agency advocates for greater recognition of the qualifications and skills of refugees and stateless individuals and works to support them in navigating the process of having their qualifications recognized.

Unfortunately, the lack of recognition of their qualifications can make it difficult for them to find employment that is a good match for their skills and can limit their ability to improve their skills and qualifications, and ultimately their employability. There are many organizations working to assist in upskilling and reskilling but the real challenge lies in not being able to recognize what is already there. A future world in which all skills are validated, transparent, translatable, and transferable could be one where individuals have greater opportunities to succeed and reach their full potential.

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