Distance Learning Part 2 – Do Overseas Employers Accept Online Degrees?

Last time we turned the spotlight on online and distance learning qualifications, we identified which foreign embassies wouldn't accept these for legalisation. This could deter candidates from even applying for positions overseas in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But are online degrees accepted by overseas employers? And if so, is there any way for someone with an online qualification to get a job in these countries?

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What We’ll Cover

  • What counts as distance learning

  • Possible work-arounds to get your work permit issued

  • Which course types can’t qualify

  • What to do once you’ve determined if your course qualifies

Last time we turned the spotlight on online and distance learning qualifications, we identified which foreign embassies wouldn’t accept these for legalisation. This could deter candidates from even applying for positions overseas in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. But are online degrees accepted by overseas employers? And if so, is there any way for someone with an online qualification to get a job in these countries?

What’s the issue with distance learning?

We have had many customers request legalisation of documents for Qatar where their Degree has not met the Embassy guidelines. This could be because:

  • The degree was studied partly or entirely online
  • The degree was studied via distance learning such as an OU qualification
  • The student studied at a physical university but at a university campus overseas, for example a Degree awarded by Manchester University but studied at a partnered University in the UAE.
  • The student studied at a physical college or university but the qualification was awarded by a different institution. For example, the course was held at a local college but awarded by Huddersfield University.

All of these points will cause issues if you wish to have this award legalised for use in Qatar. If you wish to submit a qualification of a degree level or higher, it must be supported by both a transcript of results and a letter from the university. The letter must specifically state that the course was studied in person, on campus in it’s entirety and where the exams were taken too. You can read more about the specifics of the requirements for the letter in our guide here.

Is there a way to work around this?

It’s often a concern for those studying courses with the Open University and other distance learning bodies that their qualification won’t be seen as equal to those from attained at a ‘brick’ university. These attitudes are changing in the UK, but when these graduates wish to look for opportunities overseas, they continue to come up against barriers. Is there no hope for those wishing to take up a position in Qatar?

Some of these issues are more easily remedied than others. For example, if the student studied at a physical college or university but the qualification was awarded by a different institution, it could still be accepted by Qatar. The letter issued by the college or university where you studied should be sufficient for the legalisation procedure if they can provide evidence that the course was studied in person.

Some issues aren’t as easily resolved however. If the degree was awarded by a UK-based university, but the course was held overseas, it can create a deadlock in the procedure. The UK university can’t verify the student’s attendance, but any documentation produced overseas can’t be processed in the UK. Even having the degree notarised is not acceptable to the Embassy, as we have pursued this line of enquiry previously with the Consulate.

At Vital Consular we look at each client’s situation on a case by case basis. In some instances, it is even possible to legalise a degree awarded by the Open University, as not all of their courses are delivered through a distance learning mode of study. Other learning institutions can host OU courses, so if your certificate states where you studied the course and can provide a supporting letter to declare this, it could be accepted by the Qatar Embassy. If it’s not a straight-forward case, we will take it directly to the Consulate in person to clarify everything before we start work on your document.

I did a distance learning qualification, what should I do next?

In all cases, we advise the customer to contact their employer directly. They are usually happy to accept a legalised qualification below degree level, or if you have another degree in an unrelated subject to your role, but studied this in person, this can be used as an alternative. If you are applying for a teaching position, your QTS does not require supporting documents for legalisation, so this can be a great help in these situations.

If you’re unsure if your document will be accepted or not, we’ve got you covered. We’ve got knowledge of the attestation process for most countries, so our experience colleagues across the globe can answer all of your queries. If you have an enquiry, you can give our team of specialists a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, request a personalised quotation, send us a message via WhatsApp on mobile, use our live chat system, or e-mail us at sales@vitalconsular.com.

key takeaways

Key Takeaways

With varying definitions of what counts as distance learning, it can be difficult for those wishing to relocate to certain countries to know where to start if they state they won’t accept this award type. Even if you did study a distance learning degree, all may not be lost. In some cases, we’ve managed to work with individuals to save their dream move from coming to a halt. If you’re unsure what options you have, simply talk to your future employer who are usually more than happy to help.

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Melanie Clarke
Melanie is a Digital Marketer and TEFL Specialist at Vital Consular. Before taking up a Marketing role, she spent 3 years building up a rich knowledge of global legalisation processes on the operations team. When she's not working, Melanie enjoys attending music events and pursuing many creative interests including screen printing and merchandise design.
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