Crushed Hopes

Underemployment and Deskilling among Skilled Migrant Women

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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 International Organization for Migration (IOM) wishes to thank the following individuals for their contributions at various stages of the project; first and foremost, the authors of the cases studies: Dr. Sondra Cuban, Ms. Hélène Cardu, Dr. Luisa Marin de Avellan and Ms. Blandine Mollard, as well as Ms. Sanober Umar for her extensive work on the literature review.


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