Application Trends from Western Europe

The increasing mobility of the European workforce in recent years can be noticed through an increase in the number of individuals applying to UK NARIC from Western Europe. In 2008, the region accounted for 8.5% of applications; in 2011, the figure had risen to 13.5%. The total number of applications from the region exceeded 5,000, similar to the total from India or Pakistan.

The number of assessments we have undertaken for applicants from these countries (plus the overall ranking) over the past four years highlights some interesting points:

Country 2008
Austria 38 79th 49 71st 54 73rd 40 77th
Belgium 66 56th 87 50th 81 52nd 89 52nd
Denmark 59 59th 69 60th 59 67th 59 63rd
Finland 46 70th 47 72nd 30 91st 23 100th
France 850 11th 941 10th 944 10th 831 11th
Germany 664 15th  705 13th 617 17th 475 19th
Greece 89 49th 118 46th 148 42nd 146 41st
Iceland 3 152nd 4 146th
Ireland 297 26th 356 25th 525 21st 442 22nd
Italy 436 21st 539 17th 593 18th 647 14th
Luxembourg 2 162nd 2 158th
Malta 20 103rd 12 115th 9 123rd
Netherlands 160 39th 154 39th 161 41st 173 37th
Norway 46 70th 46 75th 57 70th 27 94th
Portugal 237 32nd 210 36th 192 35th 225 35th
Spain 474 19th 541 16th 683 16th 766 12th
Sweden 118 43rd 141 41st 183 36th 91 51st
Switzerland 67 55th 80 53rd 64 64th 76 57th
UK 430 21st 701 16th 925 10th
Total 3,647 4,533 5,110 5,050


In 2009, UK NARIC began providing a comparable academic level for some UK professional qualifications, in response to the number of these awards being sent through.

Economic migration

It has been reported that the financial troubles besetting certain European economies have led increasing numbers of highly qualified individuals to seek employment outside of their own countries.  These figures appear to confirm this trend.  Taking a closer look at the number of individuals applying for assessments from those countries that have been hardest hit by the economic downturn better highlights the increases:

Country 2008 2011 % change
Greece 89 146 + 64%
Ireland 297 442 + 48%
Italy 436 647 + 48%
Portugal 237 225 – 5%
Spain 474 766  + 61%
W. Europe Total 3,647 5,050 + 38%

Only Portugal shows a decline while Greece, Ireland, Italy and Spain show significant increases.  By contrast, applications from other major European countries such as France, Germany and Netherlands have remained steady or declined slightly.

Qualification level of migrants

Spain, Italy and Ireland are significant source countries, all of them within the top 25 in the County League table.  They have all seen a significant rise in the number of applications they generate.  A breakdown of the level of qualifications submitted from these countries during 2011 is shown below:

Spain (766) Italy (647) Ireland (442)  Global
Examples % Examples % Examples % %
Below Level 3 on the UK Qualifications Framework (QCF) Título de Graduada en Educación Secundaria, Bachillerato Unificado y Polivalente (BUP) 20% Diploma di Maestro d`Arte, Attestato di Qualifica Professionale – Special- izzazione Estetista 11% Leaving Certificate, Junior Certificate 27% 23%
A level and Sub-Degree Equivalents (QCF Levels 3, 4 and 5) Maestra, Especialidad de Educación Musical, Técnica Superior en Información y Comercial- ización Turística 35% Diploma di Esame di Stato, Diploma di Infermiere Professionale (Nursing) 35% National Diploma in Design in Interior Architecture, Higher Certificate in Engineering 33% 25%
British Bachelor level Título de Licenciado / Título de Ingeniero / Título de Arquitecto 23% Laurea, Laurea in Ingegneria 35% Bachelor of Science, Higher Diploma in Arts 29% 34%
Postgraduate Máster en Físcia Aplicada, Máster Universitario en Profesor/a de Educación Secundaria 2% Diploma di Special- izzazione per L`Insegna-
mento Secondario, Diploma di Specialista in Medicina Interna: Medicina d`Urgenza
17% Master of Science,  Certificate of Membership / Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland 5% 10%
No comparison available 20% 2% 7% 8%

The distribution of enquiries for the three countries highlights that:

  • Italians coming to the UK are more likely to be postgraduates than the global average
  • Irish applicants are more likely to apply with school or vocational qualifications, and
  • It is not possible to provide a comparison for 20% of Spanish cases because applications were not completed or because qualifications were not recognised by the education authorities in Spain (such as the Técnico Superior en Prevención de Riesgos Laborales).

Tim Buttress, August 2012

5 Thoughts

  1. Hi,

    I’m considering to be recognized as Biomedical Scientist. Giving a look at general guidelines to present an application form st the IBMS in UK, I’ve seen that it is necessary to get the BSC degree taken in Italy, compared to a Uk one, by you, and also a proof of evidence of the medium of instruction to confirm that the qualification was taught or researched in English(an MOI letter).

    Now, The Italian degree that I have is taught in Italian, not in English, so I can’t ask for a comparability for non-UK qualification, at all?

    Thank you for your attention.

    Best Regards

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for your comment.

      As your qualification has not been taught solely in English it would not meet the requirements of our English Language Assessment service. However, we can provide a Statement of Comparability that will provide an academic comparison of your qualification a level in the UK framework. Further information can be found on our website below:

      I hope this helps.

      UK NARIC

  2. Hello there,
    i’m from Israel . and i have a diploma in Architecture Engineer.
    i would like to know if can i work in uk whit this diploma ?

    1. Hi Aya,
      Thank you for your comment.
      To have UK NARIC look into the comparison of your award to the Frameworks of the UK I would recommend that you look into our Statement of Comparability service:
      We would need for you to submit the documents of the award such as the Final Certificate and Transcript to allow us to begin the service.
      I hope this helps.
      UK NARIC

Comments are closed.