By CYNTHIA BARKER
Recruitment & Immigration Adviser
(Whilst this article originally appeared in EuroFilipino Journal, where it was aimed at people with qualifications from the Philippines, the information applies to many nationalities who will need to compare their qualifications with the UK equivalent before finding a job or winning a study place in the UK.)
For more about NARIC, see www.naricassessment.com
Like other people who have graduated abroad, we Filipinos have qualifications which may not necessarily be compatible or equivalent to the UK standards. This affects our chances of finding a job or winning a study place in the UK.
If your degree is not equivalent to a UK standard – which is true for most Filipinos – you will need to have this assessed by NARIC, the official body which compares overseas qualifications with the UK equivalent (see below). You will need this NARIC Assessment to prove to an Employer, Study Institution and/or the Home Office, that you are qualified to meet the requirements.
If you are a graduate from one of the top five Universities in the Philippines (e.g. University of the Philippines, Ateneo, La Salle), the chances are your degree will be equivalent to one awarded in the UK. This means that your qualification will be recognised in the UK by the Home Office, Institutions, Regulatory Bodies and Employers.
That said, even if you think your qualification is equivalent, you still need to have it assessed by NARIC to prove that this is the case.
In some cases the NARIC Assessment may reveal that you qualified to come to the UK as a Highly Skilled Migrant under the HSMP
I want here to explain to fellow Filipinos that it is important to first get a comparison of qualifications as the first part of the process. If you are thinking of coming to the UK to either study or work we would advise you to first obtain a NARIC Assessment.
I had to go through this myself, getting a comparison of my Filipino qualifications with the UK equivalent in order to obtain first pursue my education and then obtain a job.
A lot of candidates I meet manage to apply for jobs in the UK without getting NARIC Assessment, which is not ideal because sometimes they get their job offer but they can’t proceed because their qualifications are found to not match those required. This wastes everybody’s time and money.
Maria, a graduate in Physical Therapy, applied to us for a job as a Senior Carer. In order to assess her chances of obtaining a Work Permit, it was necessary to first compare her Filipino degree by carrying out a NARIC Assessment, which we arranged on her behalf. It was found that her Filipino degree was equivalent to a second year level of a UK degree or a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE). However, we were still able to successfully obtain a Work Permit for her, because we had prior knowledge of her circumstances. She is now happily working in a care home.
You should also bear in mind that you will need to be registered with the appropriate professional body in order to practise in the UK as a professional. For example, if you want to work as a nurse you will need to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). Similar bodies exist for other professions such as: Medicine, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Accountancy, Engineering and Law. A list of professional bodies can be found at Useful Websites or in the How2 Come to the UK book.
Although it may seem obvious I am often asked whether, if you are a Filipino who graduated in the UK, you would still need a NARIC Assessment. The answer is no. It is your qualification that matters, not your nationality.
Who are NARIC?
UK NARIC, which stands for “National Academic Recognition Information Centre” is the national agency under contract to the UK Government Department for Education and Skills (DfES). It is the official source of information and advice on the comparability of international qualifications from over 180 countries worldwide with those in the UK.
NARIC provides information on the comparability of international and national qualifications in regard to education and training, professional registration and international employment.
It doesn’t matter where you come from – UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, the information from NARIC about education systems and technical or vocational qualifications is recognised by higher education institutions, professional bodies and commercial organisations.
As such, an official NARIC Certificate is the first step on the road to working or studying in the UK.
What is a NARIC assessment?
NARIC can provide you with a letter which is your statement of qualifications comparability. This advises how your qualification compares against UK qualification levels. You may also request an additional Comparability Certificate, which is an attractive document that can be included with your letter and Qualification Certificates.
Organisations such as www.naricassessment.com offer a Fast Track NARIC Assessment service which can be arranged online and normally takes around 48 hours. Staff are friendly and helpful and will take time to explain the results.
This article first appeared in EuroFilipino Journal in June 2006