Recognition of qualifications held by refugees

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:

«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", 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)» e «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».

Services related to recognition of qualifications held by refugees

  1. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) has activated a service for the request of Statements of Validity (Dichiarazione di valore) for refugees and international and subsidiary protection holders.
  2. CIMEA, via its own service of statement of comparability and certification of qualifications - Diplome - produces, free of charge, “Statement of Comparability” of foreign qualifications for persons with refugee status, subsidiary or international protection holders and detainees. Further information are available on the section: "CIMEA for Refugees". To access the service kindly register here.
  3. CIMEA has also sponsored and activated the National Coordination for the Evaluation of Refugee Qualifications (CNVQR): 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.
  4. CIMEA started the trial phase of the Academic Pass of Refugee Qualifications that, through the development of an innovative procedure, allows the evaluation of qualifications held by refugees also the case of missing or partial documentation.
  5. CIMEA is involved in international projects that focus on recognition of refugees’ qualifications:

For more information and insights, please refer to the following page of the ENIC-NARIC network website:

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