Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Brain Waste" -- Immigrant Professionals

There have been jokes over the years about Ph.D.s from Nigeria driving taxis in New York City or MDs from South America walking dogs for the rich and famous in Los Angeles . Now the Migration Policy Center has released a report on college-educated and professional immigrants that quantifies the phenomenon -- there are 1.3 million such immigrants in the country not practicing the profession for which they were educate. The Los Angeles Times calls it a "brain waste", especially at a time when their services sorely are needed, The Times points out that more than a third of Californians are Latinos, yet less than 6% of doctors and nurses are. That places a heavy burden on the medical system in providing effective health care. Much of the problem is due to the difficulty for immigrant professionals to get credentials. It's not impossible, but standards are high, tests are complex, and the process is costly and time-consuming. The immigrant professionals are discouraged and often have to take menial jobs or jobs below their qualifications to survive. The Migration Policy Center urges a national policy to streamline the certification process with programs to enhance English skills and provide support.

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