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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts

MPI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to the study of the movement of people worldwide.

Brain Waste among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the United States: A Persistent Problem with Increasing Costs

Posted by Migration Policy Institute on June 25th, 2021

Two million college-educated immigrants in the United States are either unemployed or working in jobs that require no more than a high school diploma, often because of licensing, credential-recognition, and other barriers. While most states have seen their populations of highly skilled immigrants grow since 2010, there have been few strategic efforts to improve the integration prospects of these new residents or address this skill underutilization, also referred to as “brain waste.” The failure to fully leverage this human capital comes with increasing costs, with job vacancies at a two-decade high, an aging society, and a rapidly transforming labor market.

During this webcast, MPI's Jeanne Batalova was joined by David Dyssegaard Kallick from the Fiscal Policy Institute, Upwardly Global's Jina Krause-Vilmar, Mohamed Khalif from the Washington Academy for International Medical Graduates, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Shaun E. Smith for a discussion on findings from a report examining at U.S. and state levels the underemployment of college graduates by nativity and by race and ethnicity, in the process revealing patterns of economic inequality. The conversation includes immigrant and employer voices who explore the promising strategies that exist to mitigate this brain waste for the benefit of the U.S. economy, local communities, and the workers themselves.

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