Higher Education for migrants and refugees

The European Commission supports the integration of migrants and refugees in higher education and research.


The Commission funds projects and disseminates successful practices in the field of education for migrants and refugees. Among the many initiatives coordinated for migrants and refugees, language skills and recognition of qualifications are key issues for these groups.

Support for institutions

Erasmus+ funds project-based support for Programme Country higher education institutions (HEIs) and Partner Countries around the world, including in countries that are the main sources of migration to Europe.

Two types of projects are particularly relevant for institutions:

Support for students

From 2016 to 2019, the European Commission is offering 100,000 refugees and newly arrived migrants access to Online Linguistic Support on a voluntary basis. The initiative aims to help individuals integrate better into their host society by providing the opportunity to learn the local language.

Inspiring projects

 Individuals and institutions can find inspiration from other Erasmus+ projects related to higher education and refugees on the Erasmus+ Project Results platform. The platform is easy to access, and references an array of projects that have helped migrants and refugees to successfully integrate in their new country.  To search the site, select ‘Erasmus+’ as programme; ‘Migrant’s issues’ and ‘Integration of refugees’ as topics; and ‘KA2: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices’ and ‘KA203: Strategic Partnerships for higher education’ as actions, and a full list of projects in this field will be displayed.

Recognition of academic qualifications

The European Commission supports a variety of initiatives to improve the recognition of qualifications held by refugees.

These include:

  • guide for credential evaluators to assist in the recognition of qualifications. presented by refugees
  • Information on academic recognition procedures for refugee students and graduates to aid refugees wanting to work or study.
  • A toolkit to help evaluators to introduce fair and streamlined procedures for recognising qualifications held by refugees. The toolkit provides education system profiles of relevant third countries, e-learning modules and a set of detailed guidelines for introducing effective procedures. Erasmus+ is also funding a project that will build on the results from this project.

Support for researchers

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) of the EU Horizon 2020 programme provide high-quality training and career development opportunities in Europe for researchers of any nationality or field – either towards or beyond PhD level. Displaced researchers, for instance with refugee status, who have had their studies interrupted can benefit from a variety of programme features, including:

  • The Career Restart Panel supports post-doctoral researchers resuming their research careers in Europe. The CAR Panel is reserved for those who have been absent from research for at least a year, for whatever reason. The Guide for Applicants provides further information.
  • MSCA eligibility criteria seek to limit funding disadvantages for researchers who have suspended their activities while applying for refugee status. The time spent in a country while waiting for refugee status to be granted will not be counted as 'period of residence/activity’ in the country of the host organisation.
  • Organisations providing pre- or post-doctoral training are encouraged to include activities open for or targeting the integration of displaced researchers.

MSCA has raised a call for a Coordination and Support Action addressing Researchers at Risk. The Work Programme is available on the Horizon 2020 Participant Portal.