Facilitations for recognition of formal qualifications
For migrants, first of all it is about recognition of formal qualifications, which were acquired outside Austria. A separate law of recognition is one component of the current working programme of the Austrian Federal Government and will be passed in 2015 or 2016.
Not all professions require formal recognition in the form of validation of foreign studies and degrees, nostrification or equalisation of apprenticeship certificates in Austria. This path is only necessary for working in regimented professions. It can be complex and concludes with an official notification and document. The documents required for that, however, can be missing after the flight.
An alternative is the so-called evaluation, which is possible from the level of secondary vocational training on. An evaluation corresponds to an expert opinion on the value of a qualification acquired abroad on the Austrian labour market. It can be reasonable, when formal recognition is not possible, not feasible or not mandatory.
Recognition of competences: validation for all
Beside the recognition of formal qualifications, it is of course also possible for migrants and refugees to have their competences recognised. This means validation of non-formally and informally acquired competences. This type of competence recognition is currently experiencing progress in Austria. A consultation on the national validation strategy was performed by the Austrian Ministry of Education until 30/9/2015; a nationwide practice of validation is taking shape.
A freely available portfolio for migrants and refugees
There already are processes, which support recording of competences. Here, above all, the language and qualification portfolio (SQuP - Sprachen- und Qualifikationsportfolio in German) for migrants and refugees must be stated, which can be downloaded in nine languages from the website of the “Projekt Integrationshaus Wien” association (see link at bottom of page).
This is an instrument for surveying knowledge, capabilities and competences by means of reflection and self-assessment. A manual for supervisors is likewise available for downloading. The SQuP provides preparation for professional development and further development and for the entry into the labour market and gives those using it a good idea, where their strengths lie. It may also be used as preparation for work- or education-related consulting.
Competence check of the labour market service for those entitled to be granted asylum
These types of recognition do not change the labour market status. Asylum seekers currently have very restricted access to the Austrian labour market. Only those entitled to be granted asylum may also be supported in their job search by the labour market service (AMS – Arbeitsmarktservice in German). They are marked down at the AMS in increasing numbers.
Since the end of August, the City of Vienna offers a “competence check for professional integration of recognised refugees”. This “competence check” is performed on behalf of the AMS in different first languages. It is to support the quick entry into the Austrian labour market. According to current information from the AMS, the offer will be continued in 2016.
How a culture of recognition can succeed
A succeeding culture of recognition can only be achieved with the interaction of all those involved: in that, stakeholders, companies, labour market facilities, education providers, recognition and counselling centres and migrants make different contributions. “Such a culture of recognition prevents the dequalification of migrants, ensures interesting skilled labour and supports their social participation in Austria”, emphasises recognition expert Edith Zitz. The association “inspire” dedicates itself to the coordination of this interaction with the project “Anerkannt!” (“Recognised!” in German), which is headed by Zitz.
Further information (mostly only available in German):
Recognition guide of the Austrian Integration Fund
The path to evaluation via ENIC NARIC (BMWFW)
Language and qualification portfolio for migrants and refugees
Manual for the language and qualification portfolio
Consultation on the national validation strategy
Project “Anerkannt” – Inspire association
Editing, Text: CONEDU