The under- and unemployed immigrants with unrecognized professional credentials are a “brain waste” and gigantic talent, income and taxes oversight!
Nearly two million college-educated and skilled immigrants are unemployed or have taken low-skill jobs here, reports the Washington D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute (MPI). Those immigrants do without nearly $39 billion in wages each year, compared to what they’d earn in jobs that use their skills.
Federal and local governments give up close to $10 billion each year in the higher taxes those immigrants would pay if they had better jobs, according to MPI.
Failure to recognize another country’s education and professional credentials is a common problem across the globe, as most countries require their own training for the types of jobs educated immigrants did back home. This is a world-wide problem that begs for a local solution.
About half of immigrants to America since 2011 are college-educated and highly skilled, says MPI. The barriers they face to full employment are not limited to having their credentials recognized. They also lack familiarity with how the U.S. labor market works and their English reading, comprehension and conversational skills are challenged. They lack professional networks and conduits that connect immigrants to jobs.
This education-job mismatch is not unique to immigrants–18 percent (seven million) American college grads are underemployed in terms of their skills.
Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, has scores of these credentialed adult immigrants. They are improving their English skills and trying to determine how to enter the job market in their area of expertise. Because they typically must find work immediately they take menial tasks. Often they find they can’t move up. A lot depends on their age and ambition. Those at the beginning of their professional life fare better. It is difficult and frustrating! Those with desire and make the effort to advance through English Language Learning (ELL) and on to a high school diploma or GED can qualify for a Horizonte privately-funded continuing college scholarship. Many are doing just that.