Fostering skills-recognition and labour market access of non-EU migrants and refugees in the Netherlands:
The clash between neoliberal and humanitarian policy agendas
University of Radboud, Netherlands
The presentation will be based on work in the EU DIVERSE project and the EU Skills2Work project (see attached policy briefs) For European countries to keep their competitive edge as internationally-oriented knowledge economies, it is essential that individual skills and competences of all workers are fully used in the labour market. In the progression of globalisation, this involves an ever larger number of Third Countries Nationals (TCNs) – people not holding citizenship of an EU country, including many refugees. Despite the important contributions of migrants to the European economies, this group is often perceived as having subordinate professional skills and competences compared to natives, which results in their talents not being fully used. Particularly TCNs experience barriers in accessing the labour market and in their further professional development. In this seminar, the project findings for the Netherlands of the EU funded DIVERSE and Skills2Work projects are presented. This entails an examination of the institutional arrangements, practices and outcomes related to the recognition of skills, knowledge and competencies (SKC) of non-EU foreign nationals (TCNs) in the Netherlands with specific reference to the Dutch healthcare sector. Although the national infrastructure for foreign recognition of educational and professional qualifications is well-developed by international standards, the system has a number of flaws as interviews with TCNs and experts in the field reveal. TCNs often discover that their qualifications are not considered equivalent to the relevant Dutch qualifications. Given the limitations of formally recognizing the educational qualifications or work experience of TCNs, Dutch policies have supported other measures, including the accreditation and recognition of prior learning (RPL). However, these too have proved challenging to implement. Some of the policy and theoretical implications flowing from this will be discussed.