Recognizing refugee qualifications: practical tips for credential assessment


Hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Syria and other distressed countries face a stark reality. Despite being skilled professionals or accomplished students, many refugees and asylum-seekers are suffering because their credentials are not recognized, and they cannot resume their careers or meet their academic goals. World Education Services (WES) began to work on solving this issue in response to the unprecedented worldwide refugee crises occurring in 2015. This work started with research on international practices for the assessment of refugee credentials and qualifications, particularly those lacking full, official, or verifiable documentation. We reviewed the available literature and conducted interviews with officials from leading higher education institutions, licensing bodies, and international education authorities in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. In this report, we contextualize the findings for Canada and the U.S. in particular. Our aim was to share this knowledge with other institutions and organizations that are trying to help refugees, as well as for WES to adopt or adapt these practices to provide an alternative form of credential assessment for refugees who cannot meet our documentation requirements.


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