Tag Archives: Recognition of vocational training qualification

Cooperation in vocational education and training

Cooperation in vocational education and training

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation in vocational education and training

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

Cooperation in vocational education and training (VET)

Document or Iniciative

Conclusions of the Council and of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States of 24 January 2009, meeting within the Council, on the future priorities for enhanced European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) [Official Journal C 18 of 24.1.2009].

Summary

These conclusions provide for voluntary measures whereby Member States may cooperate in order to enhance the quality and efficiency of vocational education and training (VET). They identify four priority areas for the period 2008-10 that need to be dealt with, in addition to the priorities and guidelines set out in the Copenhagen process.

Implementing common European tools and schemes to promote cooperation in VET

National qualifications systems and frameworks that are based on learning outcomes should be set up in line with the European Qualifications Framework. It is essential that these as well as the future European Credit system for VET (ECVET) and European Quality Assurance Reference Framework (EQARF) be implemented. To this end, pilot projects, coherent methods and tools, including tools to validate informal and non-formal learning outcomes, as well as quality assurance instruments should be developed.

Promoting the quality and attractiveness of VET systems

The attractiveness of VET should be promoted to all target groups, in particular among students, adults and enterprises. At the same time, it should be ensured that access to and participation in VET is open to all, with due regard given to people or groups at risk of exclusion. Similarly, information, lifelong guidance and counselling services should be made more accessible. Paths enabling the progress from one qualifications level to another should also be made easier.

Common tools should be created to promote the quality of VET systems. In particular, quality assurance mechanisms should be developed through the future EQARF. VET policies should be based on consistent data, the collection of which must be improved. In addition, more should be invested in the training of VET trainers, language learning adapted to VET should be developed, innovation and creativity in VET should be promoted, and the permeability and continuity of learning paths between different levels of education should be enhanced.

Developing the links between VET and the labour market

In order to improve the links between VET and the labour market, it is essential to continue developing forward-planning mechanisms that centre on jobs and skills, recognising possible skill shortages. Simultaneously, the participation of social partners and economic stakeholders in developing VET policies needs to be ensured.

Guidance and counselling services should be improved, so that the transition from training to employment may occur more smoothly. The mechanisms that promote adult training should also be improved to further career opportunities as well as business competitiveness. Furthermore, efforts should be made to proceed with the validation and recognition of informal and non-formal learning outcomes. The mobility of people in work-related training should also be given a boost, in particular by strengthening the appropriate Community programmes. Finally, the role of higher education in VET and in relation to labour market integration should be strengthened.

Enhancing European cooperation

Peer learning activities should be made more effective and their results used to form national policies in VET. It should also be ensured that priorities linked to VET are well integrated and visible within the future strategic framework for European cooperation in the field of education and training. VET should be better linked to policies concerning other education levels, multilingualism and youth. In addition, collaboration with third countries and international organisations needs to be strengthened.

The Commission and Member States are encouraged to implement, within the limits of their respective competences, the measures established under these four priority areas. They should use appropriate means of funding, both private and public, in order to further national level reforms and implement Community tools. They should also continue enhancing the scope and quality of VET statistics as well as developing a clearer VET element for the coherent framework of indicators and benchmarks. In addition, they should continue developing activities concerning future skills needs.

The Commission and Member States should exchange information and collaborate on VET with third countries. Cedefop (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training) and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are also closely involved in supporting the Commission on VET-related issues.

Certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains

Certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Transport > Rail transport

Certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the Community’s rail network.

Summary

This directive helps to revitalise the rail sector by establishing a certification system for locomotive and train drivers on the European Union (EU) rail network.

It is mainly aimed at drivers. EU countries may exclude the following from the measures they adopt in implementation of the directive:

  • metros, trams and other light rail systems;
  • networks that are functionally separate from the rest of the rail system and are intended only for the operation of local and urban services, etc.;
  • privately owned railway infrastructure.

Certification of drivers

All train drivers must have the necessary fitness and qualifications to drive trains and hold the following documents:

  • a licence identifying the driver and the authority issuing the certificate and stating the duration of its validity. The licence will be the property of the driver and will be issued, on application, to drivers meeting the minimum requirements as regards medical and psychological fitness, basic education and general professional skills;
  • a harmonised complementary certificate as evidence that the holder has received additional training under the railway undertaking’s safety management system. The certificate should state the specific requirements of the authorised service (rolling stock and infrastructure) for each driver and its validity will therefore be restricted.

The harmonised complementary certificate authorises the holder to drive in one or more of the following categories:

  • category A: shunting locomotives and work trains;
  • category B: carriage of passengers and/or goods.

Drivers holding the licence and the harmonised complementary certificate can drive trains provided that the railway undertaking or the infrastructure manager in charge of the transport operation in question holds a safety certificate.

Conditions and procedure for obtaining the licence and the certificate

With regard to the basic training and fitness required of drivers, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • they must be at least 20 years of age. However, EU countries may issue licences from the age of 18 years, the validity of such a licence then being limited to the territory of the issuing EU country;
  • they must have received basic training equivalent to level 3 (level of 9 years of education: primary and secondary) as referred to in Council Decision 85/368/EEC and satisfy the medical requirements laid down in Annex II of this directive;
  • they must provide evidence of their physical and mental fitness by passing a medical examination conducted by a medical doctor recognised by the competent authority;
  • they must demonstrate their psychological fitness by passing an examination conducted by a psychologist recognised by the competent authority;
  • they must provide evidence of their professional and, if applicable, linguistic abilities.

Professional abilities are proven by means of adequate training (in operational regulations, engineering, communications, acquiring driving skills, etc.) and passing the relevant examinations.

The competent authority will issue the licence not later than one month after receiving all the necessary documents. The licence will be in the official language(s) of the EU country issuing it and is valid for 10 years.

In order to keep the licence and the harmonised certificate, holders must agree to undergo periodic checks such as medical examinations and tests of their professional abilities.

When a driver ceases to be employed by a railway undertaking, the undertaking must inform the competent authority without delay. The harmonised complementary certificate will become invalid on cessation of employment. However the holder will receive a certified copy of it. If there is any change in a driver’s state of health that could call into question his fitness for the job and give grounds for withdrawal of his licence or harmonised complementary certificate, the employer or the driver himself must inform the competent authority without delay.

Some tasks and decisions of the competent authority

The competent authority, i.e. the authority appointed by the EU country to issue the driver’s licence after establishing that the applicant meets the necessary requirements, must carry out the following tasks, in a transparent and non-discriminatory fashion:

  • issue and update licences, provide replacements and suspend and withdraw licences if necessary;
  • ensure periodic examinations and checks;
  • ensure the publication and updating of a register of accredited or recognised persons and bodies, and update a register of licences which have been issued, expired, modified, suspended, cancelled or declared lost or destroyed;
  • supervise the process of certifying drivers and carry out the necessary checks on board trains travelling within the EU;

EU countries shall take the necessary steps to ensure judicial review of the decisions taken by a competent authority.

Railway undertakings are required to:

  • keep a register of all harmonised complementary certificates issued, expiring, modified, suspended, cancelled or declared lost or destroyed;
  • cooperate with the competent authority of the country where they are domiciled in order to interconnect their register with that of the competent authority so as to give it immediate access to the particulars required;
  • supply information on the status of such certificates to the competent authorities of the other EU countries.

Phasing-in

EU countries will bring into force the necessary laws, regulations and administrative provisions by 4 December 2009.

At the latest on 29 October 2011, which corresponds to two years after the adoption (29 October 2009) of the basic parameters, registers will be drawn up.

At the latest on 29 October 2011, the certificates or licences to drivers performing cross-borders services, cabotage services or freight services in another EU country or working in at least two EU countries shall be issued in accordance with this directive.

At the latest on 29 October 2013, all new licences and certificates shall be issued.

At the latest on 29 October 2018, all drivers shall hold licences and certificates in conformity with this directive.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2007/59/EC

4.12.2007

3.12.2009

OJ L 315 of 3.12.2007

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EU) No 36/2010 of 3 December 2009 on Community models for train driving licences, complementary certificates, certified copies of complementary certificates and application forms for train driving licences, under Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and the Council [Official Journal L 13 of 19.1.2010]
The annexes to this regulation set out the Community models for the train driving licences, complementary certificates, certified copies of complementary certificates, and application forms for the train driving licences as referred to in Directive 2007/59/EC.

Commission Decision 2010/17/EC of 29 October 2009 on the adoption of basic parameters for registers of train driving licences and complementary certificates provided for under Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (notified under document C(2009) 8278) [Official Journal L 8 of 13.1.2010]

System for the recognition of professional qualifications

System for the recognition of professional qualifications

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about System for the recognition of professional qualifications

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

System for the recognition of professional qualifications

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This directive applies to all European Union (EU) Member State nationals wishing to practise a regulated profession *, on either a self-employed or employed basis, in a Member State other than that in which they obtained their professional qualifications.

The directive makes a distinction between “freedom to provide services” and “freedom of establishment” on the basis of criteria identified by the Court of Justice: duration, frequency, regularity and continuity of the provision of services.

FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES

Any EU national who is legally established in a Member State may provide services on a temporary and occasional basis in another Member State under his/her original professional title without having to apply for recognition of his/her qualifications. However, if the profession in question is not regulated in that Member State, the service provider must provide evidence of two years’ professional experience.

The host Member State may require the service provider to make a declaration prior to providing any services on its territory (to be renewed annually), including details of insurance cover or other documents such as proof of nationality, legal establishment and professional qualifications.

If the host Member State requires pro forma registration with the competent professional association, this must be automatic. The competent authority must forward the applicant’s file to the professional organisation or body on receipt of the prior declaration. For professions that have public health or safety implications and do not benefit from automatic recognition, the host Member State may carry out a prior check of the service provider’s professional qualifications within the limits of the principle of proportionality.

In cases where the service is provided under the professional title of the Member State of establishment or under the formal qualifications * of the service provider, the competent authorities of the host Member State may require the latter to furnish recipients of the service with certain information, in particular concerning insurance cover against financial risks arising from professional liability.

With regard to both the temporary provision of services and permanent establishment in another Member State, the authorities concerned are to ensure a proactive exchange of information relating to any serious circumstances arising from an individual’s establishment on their territory that are liable to have consequences for the pursuit of the professional activities concerned. This exchange of information must be carried out in compliance with existing data protection legislation.

FREEDOM OF ESTABLISHEMENT

“Freedom of establishment” applies when a professional enjoys the effective freedom to become established in another Member State in order to conduct a professional activity there on a stable basis.

General system for the recognition of qualifications

The general system applies to professions not covered by specific rules of recognition and to certain situations where the professional does not meet the conditions set out in other recognition schemes. This system is based on the principle of mutual recognition, without prejudice to the application of compensatory measures if there are substantial differences between the training * acquired by the person concerned and the training required in the host Member State. The compensatory measure may take the form of an adaptation period * or an aptitude test *. The choice is left to the person concerned, unless specific derogations exist.

When access to or pursuit of a profession is regulated in the host Member State, i.e. it is subject to possession of specific professional qualifications, the competent authority in said Member State is to allow access to the profession in question and pursuit thereof under the same conditions as for its nationals. However, the applicant must hold a training qualification obtained in another Member State that attests to a level of training at least equivalent to the level immediately below that required in the host Member State.

On the other hand, when access to a profession is not subject to possession of specific professional qualifications in the applicant’s Member State, access to that profession in a host Member State where it is regulated requires proof of two years’ full-time professional experience over the preceding ten years in addition to the qualification.

The directive distinguishes five levels of professional qualifications:

  • attestation of competence issued by a competent authority in the home Member State, attesting either that the holder has acquired general knowledge corresponding to primary or secondary education, or has undergone training not forming part of a certificate or diploma, or has taken a specific examination without previous training or has three years’ professional experience;
  • certificate corresponding to training at secondary level of a technical or professional nature or general in character, supplemented by a professional course;
  • diploma certifying successful completion of training at post-secondary level of a duration of at least one year or professional training that is comparable in terms of responsibilities and functions;
  • diploma certifying successful completion of training at higher or university level of a duration of at least three years and not exceeding four years;
  • diploma certifying successful completion of training at higher or university level of a duration of at least four years.

The host Member State can make recognition of qualifications subject to the applicant completing a compensation measure (aptitude test or adaptation period of a maximum of three years) in the following three cases:

  • the training was at least one year shorter than that required by the host Member State;
  • the training covered substantially different matters from those covered by the evidence of formal training required in the host Member State;
  • the profession as defined in the host Member State comprises one or more regulated professional activities that do not exist in the corresponding profession in the applicant’s home Member State and requires specific training that covers substantially different matters from those covered by the applicant’s training.

The directive allows representative professional associations at both national and European level to propose common platforms to compensate for the substantial differences identified between Member States’ training requirements. The platform is a way of ensuring that additional measures are not imposed on those concerned, while guaranteeing an appropriate qualification level. The platform is a kind of predefined compensatory measure. The Commission will report to the European Parliament and the Council on the common platforms at the end of 2010.

System of automatic recognition of qualifications attested by professional experience in certain industrial, craft and commercial activities

The industrial, craft and commercial activities listed in the directive (Chapter II) are subject, under the conditions stated, to the automatic recognition of qualifications attested by professional experience.

The elements taken into consideration for the recognition of professional experience are its duration and form (in a self-employed or employed capacity). Previous training is also taken into consideration and may reduce the amount of professional experience required. However, evidence of all previous training must be provided by means of a certificate recognised by the Member State or judged as fully valid by a competent professional body.

The pursuit of all these professional activities is subject to the conditions shown in:

  • list I of Annex IV, referring to various sectors such as the textile, chemical and oil industries, printing, manufacturing, construction, etc.;
  • list II of Annex IV, referring to sectors such as the manufacture of transport equipment, activities related to transport, postal services, telecommunications, photographic studios, etc.;
  • list III of Annex IV, referring to sectors such as restaurants and hotels, personal, community and recreation services, etc.

System of automatic recognition of qualifications for the professions of doctor, nurse, dentist, veterinary surgeon, midwife, pharmacist and architect

The automatic recognition of training qualifications based on the coordination of minimum training conditions covers the following professions: doctors, nurses responsible for general care, dental practitioners, veterinary surgeons, midwives, pharmacists and architects (Chapter III of the directive).

For recognition purposes, the directive lays down minimum training conditions for each of these professions, including the minimum duration of studies. The formal qualifications conforming to the directive issued by Member States are listed in Annex V. These qualifications enable holders to practise their profession in any Member State.

The directive allows Member States to authorise part-time training for all of these professions, provided that the overall duration, level and quality of such training is not lower than that of continuous full-time training.

Without prejudice to the specific acquired rights of the professions concerned, and particularly of architects (Annex VI), even if the formal qualifications for these professional activities held by nationals of Member States do not satisfy all the training requirements described, each Member State has to recognise them as sufficient proof. However, these qualifications must attest to the successful completion of training that began before the reference dates laid down in Annex V and be accompanied by evidence of the holder having devoted at least three consecutive years to the activities in question over the preceding five-year period.

Procedure for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications

An individual application must be submitted to the competent authority in the host Member State, accompanied by certain documents and certificates. The competent authority has one month to acknowledge receipt of an application and to draw attention to any missing documents. In principle, a decision has to be taken within three months of the date on which the application was received in full. However, this deadline may be extended by one month in cases falling under the general system for the recognition of qualifications. Reasons have to be given for any rejection. A rejection or a failure to take a decision by the deadline can be contested in national courts.

Member State nationals must be able to use the title conferred on them, and possibly an abbreviated form thereof, as well as the corresponding professional title of the host Member State. If a profession is regulated in the host Member State by an association or organisation (see Annex I), Member State nationals have to become members of that organisation or association in order to be able to use the title.

Member States may require applicants to have the language knowledge necessary for practising the profession. This provision must be applied proportionately, which rules out the systematic imposition of language tests before a professional activity can be practised.

In order to facilitate the application of the above provisions, the directive calls for close collaboration between the competent authorities in the host and the home Member States. In addition, it calls for the introduction of the following provisions:

  • each Member State has to designate a coordinator to facilitate the uniform application of the directive;
  • Member States have to designate contact points tasked with providing citizens with any relevant information about the recognition of professional qualifications and helping them in asserting their rights, particularly through contact with the authorities ruling on requests for recognition;
  • Member States have to appoint representatives to the committee on the recognition of professional qualifications;
  • the Commission is required to consult experts from the professional groups concerned as appropriate.

Member States are required to report to the Commission on the application of the system every two years. If applying one of the provisions of the directive presents major difficulties in a particular area, the Commission has to examine those difficulties in collaboration with the Member State concerned.

As of 20 October 2007, the Commission will draw up a report on the implementation of the directive every five years.

Background

This directive is a response to the 2001 Stockholm European Council’s recommendations calling on the Commission to design a more uniform, transparent and flexible system with the aim of achieving the Lisbon strategy objectives.

The directive brings together in a single text the three directives on the general system for the recognition of professional qualifications (recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of higher education of long duration; recognition of other diplomas, certificates and other evidence of other professional education and training; and the mechanism for the recognition of qualifications for crafts, trades and certain services).

It also consolidates twelve sectoral directives covering the professions of doctor, nurse (Directive 77/452/EEC), dental practitioner (Directive 78/686/EEC), veterinary surgeon (Directive 78/1026/EEC), midwife (Directive 80/154/EEC), architect and pharmacist (mutual recognition of diplomas in pharmacy and qualifications in pharmacy).

The specific directives on the provision of services by lawyers (Directive 77/249/EEC) and the establishment of lawyers are not covered by this exercise, since they concern the recognition not of professional qualifications but of the authorisation to practice.

Key terms used in the act
  • Regulated profession: a professional activity or group of professional activities, access to which, the pursuit of which, or one of the modes of pursuit of which is subject, directly or indirectly, by virtue of legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions, to the possession of specific professional qualifications; in particular, the use of a professional title limited by legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions to holders of a given professional qualification constitutes a mode of pursuit.
  • Formal qualification: diplomas, certificates and other evidence issued by an authority in a Member State designated pursuant to legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions of that Member State and certifying successful completion of professional training obtained mainly in the Community.
  • Regulated training: any training that is specifically geared to the pursuit of a given profession and that comprises a course or courses complemented, where appropriate, by professional training, or probationary or professional practice. The structure and level of the professional training, probationary or professional practice is laid down in the legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions of the Member State in question or subject to supervision or approval by the authority designated for that purpose.
  • Adaptation period: the pursuit of a regulated profession in the host Member State under the responsibility of a qualified member of that profession, such period of supervised practice possibly being accompanied by further training. This period of supervised practice is the subject of an assessment.
  • Aptitude test: a test limited to the professional knowledge of the applicant, carried out by the competent authorities of the host Member State with the aim of assessing the ability of the applicant to pursue a regulated profession in that Member State. For such tests to be allowed, the competent authorities have to draw up a list of subjects not covered by the evidence of formal qualifications possessed by the applicant.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2005/36/EC

20.10.2005

20.10.2007

OJ L 255 of 30.9.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2006/100/EC

1.1.2007

1.1.2007

OJ L 363 of 20.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1137/2008

11.12.2008

OJ L 311 of 21.11.2008

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2005/36/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference purposes only.

AMENDMENT OF ANNEXES

Annex II – List of courses having a special structure referred to in Article 11 point (c) subparagraph (ii):
Directive 2006/100/EC [Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006];
Regulation (EC) No 1430/2007 [Official Journal L 320 of 6.12.2007];
Regulation (EC) No 755/2008 [Official Journal L 205 of 1.8.2008];
Regulation (EC) No 279/2009 [Official Journal L 93 of 7.4.2009].

Annex III – List of regulated education and training referred to in the third subparagraph of Article 13(2):
Regulation (EC) No 1430/2007 [Official Journal L 320 of 6.12.2007].

Annex V – Recognition on the basis of coordination of the minimum training conditions:
Council Directive 2006/100/EC [Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006].

Annex VI – Acquired rights applicable to the professions subject to recognition on the basis of coordination of the minimum training conditions:
Council Directive 2006/100/EC [Official Journal L 363 of 20.12.2006].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2007/172/EC of 19 March 2007 setting up the group of coordinators for the recognition of professional qualifications [Official Journal L 79 of 20.3.2007].
The role of this expert group is to facilitate the implementation of the directive and develop an internal market for regulated professions as regards qualifications. The Commission consults this group, which is made up of national coordinators, alternate members and of a Commission representative.

 

Entry and residence of highly qualified workers

Entry and residence of highly qualified workers

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Entry and residence of highly qualified workers

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Living and working in the internal market

Entry and residence of highly qualified workers (EU Blue Card)

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2009/50/EC of 25 May 2009 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment.

Summary

The object of this directive is to improve the European Union’s (EU) ability to attract highly qualified workers from third countries. The aim is not only to enhance competitiveness within the context of the Lisbon strategy, but also to limit brain drain. It is designed to:

  • facilitate the admission of these persons by harmonising entry and residence conditions throughout the EU;
  • simplify admission procedures;
  • improve the legal status of those already in the EU.

The directive applies to highly qualified third-country nationals seeking to be admitted to the territory of a Member State for more than three months for the purpose of employment, as well as to their family members.

Entry conditions

To be allowed into the EU, the applicant must produce:

  • a work contract or binding job offer with a salary of at least 1,5 times the average gross annual salary paid in the Member State concerned (Member States may lower the salary threshold to 1,2 for certain professions where there is a particular need for third-country workers);
  • a valid travel document and a valid residence permit or a national long-term visa;
  • proof of sickness insurance;
  • for regulated professions, documents establishing that s/he meets the legal requirements, and for unregulated professions, the documents establishing the relevant higher professional qualifications.

In addition, the applicant must not pose a threat to public policy in the view of the Member State. S/he may also be required to provide his/her address in that Member State.

Member States will determine the number of third-country nationals they admit.

Admission procedure, issuance and withdrawal of the EU Blue Card

Member States are free to decide whether the application for an EU Blue Card has to be made by the third-country national and/or his/her employer. If the candidate fulfils the above conditions and the national authorities decide to admit him/her, s/he is issued an EU Blue Card, which is valid for a standard period of one to four years. The application will be accepted or rejected within 90 days of filing. If the application is accepted, the applicant will be given every facility to obtain the requisite visas.

The application for an EU Blue Card can be rejected if it was drawn up on the basis of false or fraudulently acquired documents or if, given the state of the labour market, the Member State decides to give priority to:

  • EU citizens;
  • third-country nationals with a preferred status under Community law who are legal residents or who are EC long-term residents and wish to move to that Member State.

The application may also be rejected on the grounds of volumes of admission established by the Member State, ethical recruitment or if the employer has been sanctioned due to undeclared work or illegal employment.

The EU Blue Card may be withdrawn if the holder does not have sufficient resources to maintain him-/herself and family members without social assistance or if s/he has been unemployed for more than three consecutive months or more than once during the period of validity of the card.

Rights and residence in other Member States

With this card, third-country nationals and their families can:

  • enter, re-enter and stay in the issuing Member State and pass through other Member States;
  • work in the sector concerned;
  • enjoy equal treatment with nationals as regards, for example, working conditions, social security, pensions, recognition of diplomas, education and vocational training.

After two years of legal employment, they may receive equal treatment with nationals as regards access to any highly qualified employment. After 18 months of legal residence, they may move to another Member State to take up highly qualified employment (subject to the limits set by the Member State on the number of non-nationals accepted).

The procedure is the same as that for admission to the first Member State. An EU Blue Card holder and his family can, however, freely enter and stay in a second Member State, but must notify the authorities there within one month of their arrival. The second Member State may decide not to allow the third-country national to work until a positive decision on his/her application has been taken. However, the application may already be presented to the authorities of the second Member State while the EU Blue Card holder is still residing and working in the first Member State.

Implementation and reporting obligations

Starting from 2013, the Commission annually collects statistics from the Member States on the number of third-country nationals to whom an EU Blue Card has been issued, renewed, withdrawn or refused, on their nationalities and occupations, and on their families. Starting from 2014, it reports on the application of the directive to the European Parliament and the Council every three years and proposes any changes it deems necessary.

Background

In its policy plan on legal migration, which was presented on 21 December 2005, the Commission made five legislative proposals concerning different categories of third-country nationals. This directive is the first of these proposals.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Directive 2009/50/EC

19.6.2009

19.6.2011

OJ L 155 of 18.6.2009

European Qualifications Framework

European Qualifications Framework

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Qualifications Framework

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Education training youth sport > Vocational training

European Qualifications Framework

Document or Iniciative

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 on the establishment of the European Qualifications Framework for lifelong learning [Official Journal C 111, 6.5.2008].

Summary

Member States are called upon to create links between the national qualifications systems * and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

By making competences and qualifications more transparent, the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is an instrument for the promotion of lifelong learning.

This framework covers both higher education and vocational training. It will make it easier for individuals in the EU to communicate the relevant information concerning their competences and their qualifications.

Increasing the transparency of qualifications * will enable individual citizens to judge the relative value of qualifications and improve employers’ ability to judge the profile, content and relevance of the qualifications in the labour market. Education and training providers will also be able to compare the profile and content of their courses and ensure their quality.

The adoption of the EQF will increase the mobility of workers and students. The EQF will allow workers to be mobile and at the same time to have their qualifications recognised outside their own country. This tool will facilitate the transition from work to training and vice versa, on a lifelong basis.

Operation and implementation

The EQF is a tool based on learning outcomes rather than on the duration of studies. The main reference level descriptors are:

  • skills *;
  • competences *;
  • knowledge.

The core element of the EQF is a set of eight reference levels describing:

  • what the learner knows;
  • what the learner understands;
  • what the learner is able to do, regardless of the system under which a particular qualification was awarded.

Unlike systems which guarantee academic recognition based on the duration of studies, the EQF covers learning as a whole, in particular learning which takes place outside formal education and training institutions.

In 2010 a system for comparing the national systems and the European framework is to be established in all participating States. In 2012, all new qualifications issued by EU post-secondary institutions will automatically refer to one of the EQF’s eight qualification levels.

General tool for cooperation

The EQF is not designed to replace national qualifications systems but to supplement the actions of the Member States by facilitating cooperation between them. This European initiative is based on national qualifications frameworks, although these are themselves not based on any single model.

To implement this shared framework for cooperation between Member States, the Commission emphasises the necessary mutual trust and the level of commitment of the various stakeholders at national, regional and sectoral levels.

The Commission also proposes to designate a national centre to coordinate the relationship between the national qualifications system and the EQF by establishing, by April 2009, an EQF advisory group, composed of representatives of the Member States and involving the European social partners and other stakeholders.

The EQF should also help international sectoral organisations * to bring their own qualifications systems into line with this system shared by the Member States.

Background

The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 promoted mobility and transparency in the European Union (EU) in the field of education. Following the achievements of the Bologna Process in higher education, similar action can now be taken which also covers vocational training.

The EQF meets one of the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy for employment with a view to the transition to a knowledge society. More specifically, it is designed to implement the work programme “Education & Training 2010”.

Key terms in the act
  • “National qualifications system” means all aspects of a Member State’s activity related to the recognition of learning and other mechanisms that link education and training to the labour market and civil society. This includes the development and implementation of institutional arrangements and processes relating to quality assurance, assessment and the award of qualifications. A national qualifications system may be composed of several subsystems and may include a national qualifications framework.
  • “Qualification” means a formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards.
  • “Skills” means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments).
  • “Competence” means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy.
  • “International sectoral organisation” means an association of national organisations, including, for example, employers and professional bodies, which represents the interests of national sectors.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Recommendation of 23.4.2008

23.4.2008

OJ C 111, 6.5.2008