So that immigration does not lead to a loss of professional status, immigrants need to get the professional qualifications that they received in their country of origin recognized. It also important for Austria as a business location that immigrants be able to bring in their know-how. But until recently, professional recognition was a real obstacle. Just finding the right agency to deposit the application was difficult. Because this depends on the profession, the country of origin, the place of residence in Austria and sometimes on the place of business of the potential employer.
The multilingual website www.berufsanerkennung.at was to give immigrants a clear and comprehensible orientation in the bureaucratic jungle: all the info that you need to get your qualification recognized. For over 1800 professions and in four languages. An aim much to our taste.
We took part in the project from the idea to the launch and remain involved in its continuous development.
For many projects, defining the requirements is the first great challenge. Apart from the Österreichische Integrationsfonds (Austrian Integration Fund), five ministries and additional public agencies were involved. So the expectations on what the website was to achieve were very diverse. We ensured a focus on the needs of the users, through a discussion process that we set up and moderated.
In several workshops, we defined the information architecture of the website. The central element is a recognition guide, an easy-to-use online process that provides the necessary information on the about 1800 occupations.
The website has to cater to very different needs: the level of education, language skills and cultural background of the target audience are highly heterogeneous. Therefore it was all the more important to create the best possible user experience that communicates the current regulations while giving the users a sense of being welcome. The clear and simple style as well as good translations is paramount for www.berufsanerkennung.at, as well as usability-oriented interaction design.
The web design adheres to the following core characteristics: positive, neutral and clear. Additionally, it's responsive and thus looks great on big and small screens.
For the implementation we used the open-source content management system TYPO3. With a specially developed editing interface for the online form, new regulations that result from amendments can be easily incorporated. In addition, we developed an interface to the professional database of the Austrian Economic Chambers with over 1800 professions and corresponding job descriptions.
From an Impenetrable Bureaucracy to a Simple Online Form
How does one illustrate the sometimes Kafkaesque-seeming norms of the Austrian bureaucracy for over 1800 professions? With a lot of patience! The most difficult part of this project was to identify the rules for the recognition of professional qualification in Austria and the exceptions to those rules, and to understand them in a second step, in order to finally represent them in an easy-to-use online process. We would like to thank the Danube University Krems and the team of the “Österreichische Integrationsfonds” for their excellent support.
The Challenge of Multilingualism
It comes with the territory that a website for users who got their qualifications abroad has to be multilingual. Currently, the content is available in English, Turkish and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. To represent this multilingualism for 1800 professions and their descriptions in a concise way was an interesting challenge in itself. But we also had to take into consideration the large number of job descriptions, as well the various synonyms that sometimes were not completely synonymous for the various languages. Together with the translation provider interlingua we developed a translation concept to make the professions easy to find in all available languages.
Central contact point
Due to www.berufsanerkennung.at there is only one central contact point for people who want to practice the profession they trained for abroad. No matter if they are already in Austria or still abroad.
40 000 people have already been informed
Since the launch, over 40 000 people from 130 countries have used the website (as per January 2015) to get information on the recognition of their professional qualifications in Austria.
A tool for advisers from various Institutions dealing with Integration
Not just (potential) immigrants are the target audience. Advisers from various institutions all over Austria use the website as a source of information to provide their clients with the best possible advice.