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20.06.2017 – European Commission - Integration - EU Skills Profile Tool for non-EU Nationals

On the occasion of the United Nations' World Refugee Day, the European Commission is today releasing the 'EU Skills Profile Tool for Third-Country Nationals'

Why has the Commission introduced this tool?

Non-EU nationals (migrants from non-EU countries) can actively contribute to European societies, if successfully integrated into the host country.The integration of these people is one of the most important challenges we face together; as the cost of non-integration is far greater in the long run than the cost of effective integration policies. In addition, in light of digitalisation and an ageing society, Europe has an interest in becoming an attractive destination for the talent our economies need.To make the best of our human capital, we need to put all talent to use.

About 1 in 4 non-EU nationals in the EU have a high level of education, which is significantly lower than for EU-nationals. At the same time, around two-thirds of those non-EU nationals who are highly skilled are either inactive, unemployed or they are over-qualified for the work they are doing. This marks a clear need for action at different levels, to support both highly skilled non-EU nationals in their search for a job relevant to their skills and lower skilled non-EU nationals who need further education and training to access the labour market. The 'EU Skills Profile Tool' will benefit all non-EU nationals, and in particular those who have recently arrived.

It is still a challenge for national authorities (eg. reception centres, integration services and public employment services) to get a first clear overview of the skills and qualifications of newly-arrived non-EU nationals, in order to better guide them to employment, education, training or skills/qualification recognition. A multilingual tool which lists all job- and education-related information can facilitate the transition into the EU labour market – and, as a consequence, into society.

This June marks the one year anniversary of both the 'New Skills Agenda for Europe' and the EU 'Action Plan on the Integration of Third-Country Nationals'. The Action Plan provides a comprehensive framework to support Member States' efforts in developing and strengthening their integration policies. The New Skills Agenda includes 10 Key Actions, among which the launch of an 'EU Skills Profile Tool for Third-Country Nationals'. Together they aim to support skills tailored to the needs of the labour market and reduce unemployment across the EU.

Who is the tool for?

The tool is designed to help all recently arrived non-EU nationals, who have the right to stay in the EU, and the organisations supporting their integration. Namely, this tool is useful for education, training, employment and migration/ integration organisations, national or regional governments. This wide range of stakeholders is the reason the tool has been made open and flexible, so that it can be adapted according to different user needs and circumstances.

Why is this tool useful? Do Member States not already have tools to track the qualifications and skills of third-country nationals?

Even though reception centres, integration services and public employment services in Member States are often well equipped to guide non-EU nationals to education, training, employment or skills recognition, the very first step of mapping their skills and experiences may still pose some difficulties.

The 'EU Skills Profile Tool' makes it simpler and quicker to understand and present individuals' skills and their skills needs. It will shortly be available in all official EU languages as well as Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Sorani, Somali and Tigrinya. Two languages can be displayed side-by-side on screen simultaneously.

The tool captures information in a consistent way, using standardised terminology across the European Union, making it easier to use across Member States.

The web editor is completely flexible: individuals can enter as much or as little information as they wish, and may complete the form all in one go or in stages. Member States and organisations can decide which parts of the question set are relevant for them.

The tool does not intend to replace good practices already in place, but rather to complement where needs are still outstanding.

Why has the Commission chosen these six non-EU languages (Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Sorani, Somali and Tigrinya)?

We based our selection of languages on an analysis of the countries of origin from which the EU received the highest number of asylum seekers in the years 2014 to 2016. These are Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Albania, Iraq and Iran (where Sorani, or Central Kurdish, is spoken) and Eritrea (where Tigrinya is spoken).

Who has been consulted in production of the tool? Has the tool been tested?

The Commission conducted a comprehensive survey on the content of the tool, as well as consulting widely on a demo version. It involved a range of international, pan-EU and national bodies related to migration, such as immigration authorities, and refugee reception or support centres. The Commission also contacted relevant employment, education and training organisations. The input from this stakeholder engagement was incorporated into a new version of the tool.

Feedback has so far been positive, with many organisations expressing a desire to align current systems and processes with the tool, including some which already have tools in place.

Will use of the tool be mandatory?

Member States are primarily responsible for integration, and this tool offers optional support to the national and local governments and organisations. The more widespread its use, the easier it will be for non-EU nationals to transfer information on their skills between Member States, employment services or training providers in a consistently recognised way. However, these decisions are for Member States.

How does the tool work?

The interviewer (for instance a social worker) and the interviewee (a non-EU national) together answer a set of questions regarding the non-EU national's skills, education and training, work/livelihood, experiences and expectations.

The tool, which is in the form of a web editor, is offered in multiple languages, of which the user can choose any two to appear side-by-side on screen. This allows an advisor and a third-country national to complete the form together, even if they do not share a common language.

Completing the form provides the user with his/her 'Skills Profile'. As the hosting website will not store any personal data, users can be confident that they are in control of the information they provide.

The final section of the tool provides a space for advisers to make recommendations to the third-country national about appropriate next steps. This could include:

A visit to an official accreditation body to get a qualification recognised

A suggestion for where to enrol for a language course

An appointment with a public employment service – to which the individual may wish to bring along their Skills Profile to facilitate the conversation

The 'EU Skills Profile Tool' is a flexible instrument, which can be adapted according to national or local needs. It can be used standalone, but Member States (in particular reception centres, migration authorities, integration services, public employment services) as well as stakeholders and NGOs can also fill in whichever sections are most relevant for them.

What happens to the data entered into the tool?

All procedures are fully in accordance with EU Data Protection laws. The interviewee is asked to give his consent to the use of his anonymised data for statistical purposes. If national authorities intend to use these statistical data, they need to be in line with EU and national laws on Data Protection

Will it cost anything to use the tool?

No, all users will be able to use the tool free of charge.

Source: European Commission - Fact Sheet

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