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What has happened to the A8 countries?

In May 2004 the EU expanded to include the A8 countries; the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.  In the subsequent period, there has been a lot of debate about the level of migration from these countries and what value these migrants bring to the UK.

Looking at the number of assessments we have undertaken for applicants from these countries over the past four years highlights some interesting points:

The total number of assessments has remained reasonably constant (3,514 in 2008 and 3,489 in 2011).  Over the past four years Poland has been near the top of our country league table.  In fact, in terms of individual assessments, it was third behind India and Pakistan between 2008 and 2010.  Last year Poland slipped behind Romania, but there were still well over 2000 assessment requests.

As far as the A8 countries are concerned, Poland accounted for nearly 70% of the volume in 2008 and 2009, whilst the proportion has reduced slightly to 60% in the last two years.  Conversely, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania have witnessed increases in the same period.

Qualification level of migrants

The table below shows the breakdown of the level of Polish qualifications submitted:

Advice for Migrants

Many UK employers and education establishments do have a very good understanding of qualifications from outside the UK; however, we would still advise anybody wishing to come to the UK to work or study to obtain a Statement of Comparability (SoC). This is an officially recognised document that confirms the recognition of overseas academic, vocational and/or professional qualifications and their comparable level in the UK.

All sorts of organisations use UK NARIC assessments as part of their day-to-day work.  Universities, colleges, Blue Chip employers, immigration consultants, careers advisors and professional bodies all use the information and data we provide.  If an individual with qualifications from outside the UK is applying to any of these types of organisation then a SoC could be helpful.

If the diploma is issued in English it still would be beneficial to send it to UK NARIC for assessment; just because it is written in English, it doesn’t mean that it will be understood, or accepted. A SoC can help to demonstrate your qualifications and skills to those who are assessing them.

Of course, the majority of academic documents from overseas are not issued in English.  If you are unable to provide a certified translation of your certificate and your language is one of those offered in our Translation Waiver Service, then we are still able to provide a SoC as we have many linguists working for us; we have  native speakers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. More information about the Translation Waiver Service is available on the UK NARIC website.


Tim Buttress, February 2012

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