Migration Policy Institute
Doctors as Taxi Drivers: The Costs of Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States
Michael Fix, President, MPI
Jeanne Batalova, Senior Policy Analyst, MPI
Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Senior Policy Analyst, National Skills Coalition
Wendy Chan, Strategy Senior Manager, Accenture
Steve Tobocman, Director, Global Detroit, and Leadership Team, WE Global Network
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus, MPI
The United States has long attracted some of the world’s best and brightest, drawn by the strong U.S. economy, renowned universities, and reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation. But because of language, credential-recognition, and other barriers many of these highly skilled, college-educated immigrants cannot fully contribute their academic and professional training and skills once in the United States. As a result they work in low-skilled jobs or cannot find a job—a phenomenon known as brain waste.
At this event, MPI presents a report with the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of this skill underutilization for immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. In addition to nationwide cost estimates, experts discuss forgone earnings and tax payments for a number of key states: California, Florida, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
The panel’s participants also discuss the factors linked to immigrant skill underutilization; highlight the potential for current city, state, and U.S. labor policy (including implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) to reduce this brain waste; and offer an employer-based view of skill underutilization and how it can be addressed.