Going up or going down? Occupational mobility of skilled migrants in Australia
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Skilled migration programs are now widespread among western settler societies, but little is known about the recent outcomes of skilled migrants. Using a feminist framework and qualitative interviews of 22 migrants, this article sheds light on the job-seeking experiences of professional skilled migrants in Australia, who are from non-English speaking backgrounds. The article reveals that many are unable to find commensurate employment post-arrival. They experience downward occupational mobility; that is they find jobs that are lower in skill level compared to the job held pre-migration. The range of job-seeking strategies is examined to determine whether migrants can improve occupational outcomes, revealing differences between the mobility of women and men. Job-seeking for women is more complex due to the gendering effects of family responsibility, making their job search more difficult. The research further highlights the underutilisation of human capital, which is in need of addressing for skilled migrants, and the wider economy.
Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources