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24 sep 2015

Crushed Hopes: Underemployment and deskilling among skilled migrant women

This report is a collective publication comprising a review of international literature on the subject of migrant deskilling and underemployment from a gender perspective and three empirical case studies from Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom. It explores the disproportionate difficulties skilled migrant women can face in transferring their skills and finding employment commensurate with their education when relocating to a new country. The case studies highlight situations in which migratory status and labour market dynamics can combine to constrain skilled and highly skilled migrant women to low-skilled occupations despite their often high human capital. They also analyse the impact that such occupational downgrading can have on migrant women’s well-being and the strategies that women can adopt to regain a professional status. 

The publication aims to answer the following questions:
• What are the obstacles keeping skilled migrant women away from qualified occupations?
• What is the psychosocial cost of occupying low-skilled jobs for qualified women?
• What are some of the coping strategies that these women put in place?
• How can these women be best supported by governmental, intergovernmental and civil society actors? 

  • Acknowledgements
  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1: Gender, migration and deskilling – A broad review of the literature
  • Chapter 2: “I don’t want to be stuck as a carer”: The effects of deskilling in the livelihoods and opportunities of migrant care workers in England
  • Chapter 3: The psychosocial impact of underemployment in the lives of skilled migrant women working in Geneva, Switzerland: An empirical study
  • Chapter 4: Resilience strategies used by immigrant women facing professional deskilling in Quebec: A literature review and a small-scale study
  • Chapter 5: Conclusions and perspectives