Cassie Anita

Publication Date



immigrants, highly-skilled immigrants, jobs, social capital, unemployment




Over 2 million highly-skilled immigrants in the US are either underemployed or unemployed due to barriers to career advancement. Barriers to career advancement include, but are not limited to, legal status, the process of transferring credentials, the license and certification process, lack of employer recognition, lack of cultural literacy, and the language barrier. Because of these barriers, immigrants face many challenges, such as retraining, paying high fees for courses or tests, limited course options due to a language barrier, and lacking knowledge of US job application processes. These challenges often prevent immigrants from working high-skilled jobs in the workplace. When immigrants cannot utilize their workplace skills, it is known as brain waste, which results in skill underutilization. Immigrants who experience brain waste contribute to millions of dollars lost annually in revenue and taxes, have poor mental health, and struggle to support families financially due to being underemployed or unemployed. Career counseling and accessible or cheap training or retraining are the best practices for helping skilled immigrants to continue their careers in the US.