IMPRINT: Immigrant Professional Integration

Brain Waste

Understanding the Problem


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“Untapped Talent:
The Economic Costs of Brain Waste Among Highly Skilled Immigrants in the U.S.”

According to the Migration Policy Institute, an estimated 1.6 million immigrant professionals are unemployed, employed at poverty-level wages in low-skill jobs, or significantly underemployed in semi-skilled jobs.

This reflects the worst of outcomes, as their home countries suffer the “brain drain” of sending these talented workers abroad, while the US allows widespread “brain waste” of many work-authorized new arrivals. Foreign-educated immigrants make up the majority of this group, with nearly 1 million affected by brain waste. This foreign-educated group is also more likely to be underemployed compared to their U.S.-educated counterparts (26% versus 19%).

Among the key barriers they face are:

  • Lack of access to critical information: practical advice on career re-entry options; help in obtaining a reputable evaluation of their international degree, and guidance on how to acculturate to the American workplace.
  • Complex and difficult-to-navigate licensing and certification pathways.
  • Limited access to higher-level vocational and Business English classes that go beyond the basic English offered in community classes.
  • Lack of the professional networks and social capital needed for a successful white-collar job search.

Applying Tested and Proven Solutions

So how can we help immigrant professionals overcome these structural barriers and apply their talents in their chosen professions?For more than a decade, the member organizations of IMPRINT have sought to answer that question. We have systematically experimented with practical tools to address the most common challenges.

Today, we offer the distilled wisdom of our shared experience. From innovative “bridge programs” to specialized educational counseling, IMPRINT members and partners have tackled the challenge of immigrant professional integration and identified promising practices to aid in launching these workers on a new trajectory.

Join us as we explore this complex issue and build long-lasting solutions to fully support immigrant professional integration – making an IMPRINT on American life.

Want to know more?

Contact us! We’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can harness the remarkable energy and ambition of immigrant professionals – and focus their skills in the areas most needed in the US economy.

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