De-Qualification and De-Emancipation among Recently Arrived Highly Skilled Immigrant Women in Switzerland

Author(s) : Roxane Gerber, Philippe Wanner

Source :


« Immigrants face numerous obstacles to integrating themselves into the Swiss labor market. One issue is the underutilization of skills, qualifications, and knowledge, which results in a brain waste for the migrants as well as for the Swiss society. This study examines the determinants of de-qualification and de-emancipation among the recently arrived highly skilled immigrant women in Switzerland. Using data from the Migration-Mobility Survey carried out in 2016 by the nccr – on the move, bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses are conducted with multinomial models. Being overeducated is used to determine the de-qualification process, and being excluded from the labor market to grasp the de-emancipation phenomenon. The main variables tested are the reason to migrate with the timeline of the partner’s migration, births of children with the timeline of migration and the region of origin. Recently arrived highly skilled immigrant women who arrived for family reasons, who have children and who are from emerging countries are significantly more likely to be excluded from the labor market. Furthermore, they have more risk of being overeducated if they come from Latin America and non-frontier countries of Europe. The findings indicate that de-qualification is mostly explained by the region of origin, whereas de-emancipation results, on the one hand, from the family situation of women and their status as tied migrants and, on the other hand, from discrimination towards the origin. There is an urgent need to better understand the factors behind the deficit in labor force integration among immigrants and particularly women immigrants as well as to enhance the situation of those groups. Indeed, in Switzerland, discrimination towards migratory background is strengthened by being a woman and being from a specific country of origin. Therefore, the accretion of disadvantages leads to higher risks of underexploited capacities and knowledge. »

Keywords : Highly Skilled Migrants, Skills Mismatch, De-qualification, Labor Market, Gender Gap


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