Securing higher education rights for refugees is critical not only for refugees’ self-empowerment but also for the peaceful development of communities. Qualifications recognition is a major barrier when refugees attempt to apply for work or higher education, due to missing documents or unavailability of issuing institutions in their home countries. This issue led to the 2019 Global Convention as the first global treaty on higher education. However, South Korea, a rising power with a normative policy focus, has little addressed qualifications recognition for refugees. Therefore, this research examines the extent to which South Korea, has internalised international norms regarding the provision of education for non-North Korean refugees. Then, by benchmarking the policies of Western normative middle powers, Canada, Norway, and Australia, the research analyses the strengths and limitations of existing qualifications recognition policies for refugees. The paper also refers to the existing policy for access to higher education for North Korean refugees in South Korea. It argues that South Korea should not only welcome more refugees but also develop an effective measure for the recognition of qualifications for refugees to integrate them as productive members of the society in fulfilment of its international humanitarian obligations, but also in accordance with its national interest. Lastly, this research concludes with policy recommendations for establishing a fair and effective recognition system for qualifications of refugees in South Korea, modelled on existing policies for North Korean refugees.