Migrants seeking work in Ireland are often overqualified for the positions they are offered, Ireland's Minister for Integration Conor Lenihan told a conference in Dublin last week.
A problem frequently encountered by migrants to the Republic is that the qualifications they have attained are not officially recognised here.
Now, a body created within Ireland's Department of Education and Science, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) is offering a free service to remedy this problem, the Qualifications Recognition Service (QRS).
The QRS researches and evaluates foreign qualifications, and then assesses what their equivalents would be within the Irish system.
Information leaflets have been published in Latvian, Lithuanian, and Russian, and can be had from the QRS website that appears at the end of this report.
NQAI project officer Deirdre Stritch explains : "The recognition of qualifications is a vital step. It insures that non-nationals can access further study or employment - and at a level that is appropriate to the skills and qualifications that they bring with them.
"In 2003 a national framework of qualifications was established in Ireland. That framework is a system of ten levels based on standards of knowledge, skills and competencies. It represents a system for coordinating and comparing awards.
"It incorporates all awards from school through to further and vocational education and training, right through to higher education.
"Awards are (then) recognised for the purpose of facilitating access to further learning or unregulated work, by the issuing of comparability statements to the award holders".
Stritch warned that, in the context of on-going education, their comparability of awards was not legally binding, and that educational institutions can "establish their own admission requirements", which would not be influenced by the NQAI
She added that in the case of regulated professions, applicants would be directed to the relevant competent authority in Ireland. A list of those authorities and agencies is on the NQAI web site.
She went on : "For those who would like a personalised statement on the comparability of their own awards to Irish awards, we do have a process and we deal with those applications on a case by case basis over an approximate 12 week time frame.
"To avail of that personalised service, applicants are required to complete an application form which can be downloaded from our web site.
"They return that to us along with certified photocopies of relevant documentation -Parchment pertaining to their award and their transcript.
The service is free of charge, and interested readers are advised to consult the QRS website on www.qualificationsrecognition.ie
You can phone them on (+) 353 1 887 1500. Fax on (+) 353 1 887 1595, or E Mail them at [email protected]