What a waste: Ensure migrants and refugees' qualifications and prior learning are recognized

In recent years, more people have been moving across borders, voluntarily or forcibly, in search of opportunities that range from better employment to safe haven from persecution and conflict. Education can be an asset for migrants and refugees, but its advantages cannot be realized if the learning and qualifications achieved before moving are not recognized elsewhere. So that migrants and refugees as well as destination countries can reap the full benefits of mobility, all the world’s regions are taking steps to improve the process through which qualifications and prior learning are recognized, validated and accredited.

To ensure migrants’ and refugees’ inclusion, their qualifications and prior learning must be recognized so that they can continue their education and find employment that corresponds to their skills. But recognition is particularly challenging when learning has occurred outside formal education pathways or when people do not carry proof of their qualifications. 

This paper reviews global progress toward the recognition of qualifications and of prior learning at all education levels and identifies examples where countries have made special provisions for migrants and refugees.

Resource Info

Resource Type

Policy Document


Published by

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)


Levels of Learning - Tertiary Education