Tackling Brain Waste: Strategies to Improve the Recognition of Immigrants' Foreign Qualifications (MPI)

This report examines the barriers that internationally mobile professionals may face, the policies that have been adopted to overcome these barriers and the lessons that governments can draw from policy experiences to date.

The report (1) clarifies the meaning of "recognition" in regulated and unregulated occupations, (2) presents assessment procedures for foreign trained professionals to demonstrate their credentials and (3) examines cooperative policies developed to create recognized shared standards to reduce the need for case-by-case assessment. The report (4) further analyzes barriers and challenges to the recognition of foreign qualifications and (5) policy approaches developed to improve such recognition.

The report concludes that several promising policies have been implemented to improve access to professional occupations for the foreign trained (e.g. information services, more flexible assessment options, etc.). Particularly in unregulated occupations, broader labour market integration policies and measures to adapt mainstream services to accomodate the needs of overqualified immigrants with nontraditional training backgrounds may have an important role to play in improving immigrant's employability. In regulated occupations, there is substantial scope to simplify requirements both domestically and through international cooperation. The report also underlines that much more evidence is needed on the costs and benefits of possible interventions to direct policy decisions.

The report was produced for the Migration Policy Institute's project on Immigration, Skills and Mobility in the Transatlantic Labor Market, funded by the European Union. Credential recognition is currently on the EU agenda. A process is underway to reform the directive that regulates the recognition of credentials in regulated occupations, with an eye to further reducing barriers to intra-EU mobility in these occupations.

Publication Date:
Mon 12 Aug 2013
Main theme:
Publication type: