E.g., 04/18/2019
E.g., 04/18/2019

Brain Waste & Credential Recognition

Brain Waste & Credential Recognition

Barriers to the recognition of foreign academic and professional credentials and experience are widely recognized as an impediment to the international mobility of skilled professionals and to immigrant integration. The result can be underemployment or unemployment for foreign professionals—a phenomenon referred to as "brain waste." As the research here demonstrates, the resulting waste of human capital represents a loss to employers, host communities, and immigrants themselves.

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Refugees attend a job training fair

After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

The number of college-educated immigrants in the United States has more than tripled in the last two decades. Asians accounted for 46 percent of the 10.5 million college-educated immigrants, with India the top origin country. This Spotlight article examines key indicators of the college-educated population, including international students and high-skilled H-1B visa holders.

With rising inflows of humanitarian and economic migrants, Norway faces a series of integration challenges. In conversation with the Migration Information Source, Solveig Horne, Norway's Minister of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion discusses her work on integration policy, from the importance of language training and a feeling of belonging, to the protection of immigrant women and resettlement of asylum seekers.
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Video, Audio
March 8, 2019

This webinar discusses the first-ever profile of the 30 million immigrant-origin adults in the United States who lack a postsecondary credential and offers analysis of the significant payoff credentials could bring in terms of workforce participation and wages.

Video, Audio
February 28, 2017

Marking the release of a report on the barriers foreign-trained high-skilled immigrants face in the United States, this webinar examines programs and initiatives that assist with credential recognition, employment, and relicensure, as well as recent policy developments. Discussants review recommendations for community-based organizations, employers, and policymakers to expand successful efforts aimed at preventing brain waste. 

Video, Audio
December 7, 2016

A presentation of the first-ever U.S. estimates on the economic costs of brain waste for highly skilled immigrants, their families, and the U.S. economy. The researchers discuss their findings in terms of the billions of dollars in forgone earnings and unrealized taxes when college-educated immigrants are relegated to low-skilled work.

Video, Expert Q&A
December 6, 2016

Nearly 2 million college-educated immigrants in the United States are stuck in low-skilled jobs or are unemployed—a phenomenon known as brain waste. In this brief video, MPI researchers discuss their key findings on immigrant skill underutilization and the resulting billions of dollars in unrealized wages and forgone federal, state, and local tax receipts.

Video, Audio
February 17, 2016

MPI's Demetrios Papademetriou discusses the current policy responses to the refugee and migration crisis at EU and national levels, and possible options for dealing more effectively with the crisis and longer-term integration challenges.

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Recent Activity

Fact Sheets
March 2019

With immigrants and their U.S.-born children poised to be the main source of labor-force growth, these adults are an important target for efforts to build the skills of the U.S. workforce to meet the knowledge-based economy of tomorrow. This fact sheet and state data snapshots explore the characteristics of adults without an academic degree or professional credential, by immigrant generation, race/ethnicity, and more.

Video, Audio, Webinars
March 8, 2019

This webinar discusses the first-ever profile of the 30 million immigrant-origin adults in the United States who lack a postsecondary credential and offers analysis of the significant payoff credentials could bring in terms of workforce participation and wages.

Reports
March 2019

As the U.S. workforce ages and the economy becomes ever more knowledge-based, policymakers face a key question: Do workers have the skills to meet tomorrow's demands? This report examines how immigrants and their children—the primary source of future labor-market growth—fit into the discussion. The report offers a first-ever profile of the 30 million immigrant-origin adults without a postsecondary credential.

Reports
February 2019

As European countries launch ambitious new legal migration partnerships with several origin and transit countries in Africa, this report takes stock of the long and mixed history of such projects. To make the most of their potential to encourage skills development and fill pressing labor gaps, policymakers will need to think carefully about the partners and sectors they choose, among other key considerations.

Reports
January 2019

To address the intersecting challenges facing European societies—from population aging and labor-market change, to immigration and political upheaval—governments need to hone new strategies for helping both newcomers and long-term residents succeed amid diversity. This report explores some of the most promising approaches, drawing on input from policymakers, the private sector, civil society, and others.

Reports
October 2018

Faced with an aging workforce and growing skill shortages in the IT sector, some German policymakers and industry experts have seized on the idea that recently arrived refugees could be a natural fit for careers in tech. This report examines the case for training refugees for IT jobs and explores the variety of coding schools that have cropped up in Germany to help newcomers succeed in the field.

Reports
October 2018

European labor markets are poised to change significantly in the coming years as technological advancements and other forces reshape the world of work. While these developments will affect all workers, they have particular implications for immigrant integration. This report breaks down the factors driving change and explores promising policy innovations to help societies better prepare for it.  

Reports
August 2018

Economists project a shortage of 5 million U.S. workers with postsecondary education and training by 2020. Yet 2 million immigrant college graduates in the United States are either unemployed or work in jobs that require no more than a high school degree. How can this skill underutilization, known as "brain waste," be remedied? MPI asked the experts, and this report summarizes their discussion and recommendations.

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