National Coordination for the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications


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International and national regulations on recognition of qualifications held by refugees

Since 1984, CIMEA, on behalf of the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research, has been operating in the sector of recognition of foreign qualifications as the national center belonging to the ENIC networks - European Network of Information Centers on Academic Recognition and Mobilty and NARIC - National Academic Recognition Information Centers, as required by the Lisbon Convention on the recognition of qualifications, ratified in Italy with Law 148/2002.

Article VII of the Lisbon Convention stipulates:

«Each Party shall take all feasible and reasonable steps within the framework of its education system and in conformity with its constitutional, legal, and regulatory provisions to develop procedures designed to assess fairly and expeditiously whether refugees, displaced persons and persons in a refugee-like situation fulfil the relevant requirements for access to higher education, to further higher education programmes or to employment activities, even in cases in which the qualifications obtained in one of the Parties cannot be proven through documentary evidence».

In line with the stipulation of the Lisbon Convention, Italy has adjusted its own legislation in terms of refugee qualification recognition by introducing Legislative Decree 251/2007 Art. 26 comma 3a, as amended under Legislative Decree 18/2014 (introduction of paragraph 3 bis):

«For the recognition of professional qualifications, diplomas, certificates and other foreign qualifications by holders of refugee status or subsidiary protection status, the competent administrations must identify appropriate evaluation, convalidation and accreditation systems which allow qualification recognition as stipulated by Art. 49 of the Presidential Decree n. 394 of 31 August 1999, even in the absence of certification on the part of the State that in which the qualification was awarded, in cases where the interested party demonstrates the impossibility of obtaining such certification».

Furthermore, the Direzione generale per lo studente, lo sviluppo e l’internazionalizzazione della formazione superiore (General Direction for students, development and higher education internationalisation) of MIUR, inside its "Procedures for entry, residency and enrolment of international students and the respective recognition of qualifications, for higher education courses in italy", from 2016 -2017 onwards, has invited Italian higher education institutions to «recognise cycles and periods of study conducted abroad and foreign study qualifications, with a view to entering higher education, proceeding with university studies and obtaining Italian university qualifications (Art. 2 Law 148/2002)» and «to make all necessary effort to introduce internal procedures and mechanisms to evaluate refugee and subsidiary protection holder qualifications, even in cases where all or part of the relative documents certifying the qualifications are missing».

In addition, it invites institutions to "make use of the experience of ENIC-NARIC centers and good practices established at international level".

Implementation of the National Coordination for the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications (CNVQR)

CIMEA, the Italian Information Centre on Academic Mobility and Equivalence, in line with Article VII of the Lisbon Recognition Convention and considering the various requests from Italian higher education institutions regarding recognition of refugee qualifications, which are obviously increasing taking into account the international situation and flows migrants towards Italy and Europe, has decided to activate, on its own initiative and in line with its institutional functions and tasks, the National Coordination for the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications (CNVQR).

ICNVQR is an informal network of experts from the administrative sector who operate inside higher education institutions and who deal with recognition of qualifications, to share evaluation procedures, problem cases, sources of information and methodological practices in cases of evaluation of qualifications held by refugees, even in cases of little or no documentation.

Being a network of administrative staff dealing with recognition procedures, CNVQR should involve relevant stakeholders directly working with assessment of foreign qualifications within Italian institutions, to avoid overlapping this initiative with other emerging national initiatives.

The main features of CNVQR network are:

  • Voluntary and self-financed based participation to the network
  • involvement of the whole institution, through the adhesion of the legal representative of the institution;
  • identification of one or more contact person for each institution;
  • coordination carried out by CIMEA through the creation of tools for the exchange of information between experts.

For more information on how to join CNVQR, please contact the following email address:

For further details on recognition procedures of refugees’ qualification, please refer to the following Link.

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