PHD's in Europe for asylem seekers from Iraq

Hello peeps,

This is my first post in this community….

So no completely sure yet how it works or what kind of responses I will get.

Here my story and my question:

Because I took into my household 1,5 years ago, a 17 year old Iraqi boy (refugee) I am becoming, a little bit against my own will☺, a go to, ask to, for other Iraqis, around the globe…

His mother, on her way to Belgium, Brussels, on a “family reunion visa”, was professor in History at the Mosul university. His uncle, doing a PHD in medical micro biology – molecular micro biology - immunity in England, Leicester.

They are both asking me for help in finding a job at universities or doing a (another) PHD in Europe.

His uncle, so he does not have to return to Iraq after his PHD finnishes in Leicester. His mother, to feel use full while waiting to go back to her country one day.

So her my question: Where, how and what can they do to have the best results in their search for a university job or sudy? As I never did a PHD or worked at universities it is still a blank canvas for me.

Thanks for taking the time for providing me with tips and tricks.


University spots for asylum seekers in Belgium or Europe

Wow, this is heartfelt, seeing people like you do so much for others.

Who can help with even a contact in Belgium that could provide more info? In or outside universities, people must know what works or what doesnt.

@Rozina , @Dougald , @Lakomaa , @Federico_Monaco .

Also, maybe the OpenInsulin folks around here can help? @ritavht , @Scigrades , @arnepauwels .

I may need more background

Hi @mariekebelle

I may need a bit more information before even trying to share any suggestion…

First thing, I would like to ask you to confirm my understanding. There are two separate issues that would need to be faced:

  1. how to enroll in a doctorate while being classified a refugee [this one should be reasonable]

  2. how to enroll in a doctorate as an already senior professional

The latter is a bit complicated. In my limited experience, most EU doctoral programs are biased towards young, highly competitive candidates. Usually, more senior individuals access doctoral tracks by tertiary funding (e.g. the company hiring them covers the full university costs, and maintains them on payrol).

Can you share with us how the idea of a PhD was selected, among other alternatives? Is it for the student status/visa? Or for the need to receive economic support? If their titles/certificates are at hand (which I presume, since they do not want to enrol in a bachelor, but in a doctorate), why not seeking a professional position (lecturer, lab technician, …)? If they have tried and failed, could you share a bit more about this, to figure out what is the situation…

In general, no one size fits all in academic careers… It’s my humble opinion, but for the double issue you are bringing to our attention, I am somewhat skeptical that anyone will be able to say “get in touch with X” or “look up on Y”… each solution will be custom tailored on the history and professional profile of the person. I hope to be able to help you doing the latter. :slight_smile:

clear information (I hope;-))


Thank you very much for giving me some of your time and maybe later some of your knowledge.

OK, here we go;

  1. Question 1 (Emad): How to enroll in any position within the academic world (or other) to be able to stay in a safe society like ours until they (him and his family) can return back home. Being Iraqi and at the end of a PHD in medical science and student visa in England. He is also looking to support his family financially.

  1. Question 2 (Amal): How to find any position within the academic world, for somebody, on the way to Belgium, on a “family reunion visa”, to be able to spend, the years waiting for the war to end, sensibly, by investing in her knowledge and-or career. As she will be supported by the Belgian state financially, money is a little less of an issue for her.

As they are not in a position of demanding things they would of course greatly accept any solution or proposition :-)

I guess what I am looking for most is;

* What kind of opportunities exist being in their specific situation?

  • Where do these two individuals have to start their search for having the best chance of finding any job or position within the academic world?

I hope this makes things more clear. If not, shoot

I have asked both to give me more specifics on their careers.

Can’t wait for your return.


The skills asymmetry…

We were just talking about this earlier today with @Alex_Levene thinking of how policies for “integration” aka supporting people to rebuild their lives are not immediately oriented towards picking up people’s aspirations and skills as they are, building on previous background and training.

Where do these two individuals have to start their search for having the best chance of finding any job or position within the academic world?

I know some universities like CEU in Budapest opened itself to allow any classes to be audited by displaced people, but that’s a small step. Probably meaningful still. Maybe look for some similar  offers, if Emad and Amal are already covered by the Belgian state.

Different profiles

For Amal I am sure I will find the way once she is here in Belgium. I am less worried about her. because she will already be in save hands and she can apply as from Belgium

Emad is a more complicated situation because his PHD and student visa will come to an end and so his employer needs to apply for his visa.  I guess he just needs an opportunity to stay in Europe and as I am not familiar with the academic world I am still lost in how to resolve this issue.