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Issues facing skilled female migrants

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Integration als Metanarrativ Notwendigkeit eines neuen Leitbildes Literatur Lifestyle Migration Was ist Lifestyle Migration? Briten in Spanien Einen neuen Lebensstil entdecken Folgen des Residenztourismus Zusammenfassung Literatur Wahlrecht und Partizipation von Migranten Einleitung Politische Rechte und Kommunalwahlrecht Wahlrecht für Drittstaatsangehörige Einbürgerung Aktuelle Entwicklungen Schlussbemerkungen Literatur Frontex und das Grenzregime der EU Einleitung Frontex – Fragen und Antworten Die Entwicklung des europäischen Grenzregimes Externalisierung Technologisierung Grenzwirtschaft/border economies Auf der anderen Seite des Grenzzauns Ist Einwanderung ein Risiko? Literatur Demografischer Wandel und Migration Einleitung Demografischer Übergang Deutschland und Europa Internationale Wanderung Integration und Reproduktionsverhalten Wanderungspolitik Regionale Muster Literatur Glossar English Version: Policy Briefs "Having a nationality is not a given, it is a privilege" Sanctuary and Anti-Sanctuary Immigration Law in the United States Migrant Smugglers Urbanizing Skilled Female Migrants in the EU Self-Organization of Women* Refugees Impact of Migration Revisited Child and Youth Migration Human Rights Protections Migration from the United Kingdom Adoption and Child Migration Third Culture Kids Trafficking in Children Actors in National and International (Flight)Migration Regimes UNHCR UNRWA International Organization for Migration The International Organization for Migration (IOM) German Asylum Policy and EU Refugee Protection Introduction Refugee Law Asylum Law, Refugee Policy, Humanitarian Migration Flight and Asylum Current Developments Current and Future Challenges References Integration in a Post-Migrant Society Introduction Post-Migrant Society Paradigm Shift Do We Still Need the Concept of Integration? Integration as a Metanarrative Need for a New Concept References Lifestyle Migration What Is Lifestyle Migration? British in Spain Realizing a New Style of Life Outcomes of Lifestyle Migration Conclusion References Voting rights and political participation Introduction Political and Municipal Voting Rights Voting Rights for Nationals of Non-EU States Naturalization Recent Developments Conclusions References Frontex and the EU Border Regime Introduction Frontex — Questions and Answers The Development of a European Border Regime Externalization Technologization Border Economies On the Other Side of the Border Fence Is Migration a Risk? References Demographic Change and Migration in Europe Introduction Demographic Transition Germany and Europe International Migration Reproductive Behavior Migration Policy Regional Patterns Glossary Further Reading Global Migration in the Future Introduction Increase of the World Population Growth of Cities Environmental Changes Conclusion: Political Migration References Germans Abroad Introduction Germans Abroad Expatriates in Hong Kong and Thailand Human Security Concerns of German Expatriates Conclusions References Migrant Organizations What Are Migrant Organizations? Number and Structure Their Role in Social Participation Multidimensionality and the Dynamic Character Interaction with their Environments Between the Countries of Origin and Arrival Conclusion References EU Internal Migration EU Internal Migration East-West Migration after the EU Enlargement Ireland United Kingdom Spain Portugal Greece Italy Germany Assessment of Qualifications Acquired Abroad Introduction Evolution of the Accreditation Debate The Importance of Accreditation Basic Principles Thus Far of the Accreditation of Qualifications Acquired Abroad Actors in the Accreditation Practice Reasons for Establishing a New Legal Framework The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act What Is Being Criticized? The Accreditation System in Transition Conclusion References From Home country to Home country? Context Motives Immigration and Integration in Turkey Identification Emigration or Return? References Integration in Figures Approaches Development Six Approaches Conclusion References Climate Change Introduction Estimates Affected areas Environmental migration Conclusion References Dual citizenship Discourse Classic objections Current debate Rule of law Conclusion References Female Labour Migration The labour market Dominant perceptions Skilled female migration Issues Conclusion References How Healthy are Migrants? Definition The Health Status Prevention/Barriers Migration and Health Conclusions References Networks Spain Migrant networks Effects of networks Romanian networks Conclusion References Integration Policy Introduction Demographic situation Economic conditions Labour market The case in Stuttgart Integration measures Evaluation Outlook References Irregular Migration Introduction The phenomenon Political approaches Controlling Sanctions Proposed directive Conclusions References Integration Courses Introduction The Netherlands France Germany United Kingdom Conclusions References Recruitment of Healthcare Professionals Introduction The Situation Health Worker Migration Costs and Benefits Perspectives and Conclusion References Triggering Skilled Migration Introduction Talking about mobility Legal framework Coming to Germany Mobility of scientists Other factors Conclusions References Remittances Introduction The Term Remittance Figures and Trends Effects Conclusion References EU Expansion and Free Movement Introduction Transitional Arrangements Economic Theory The Scale The Results Continued Restrictions Conclusion References The German "Green Card" Introduction Background Green Card regulation Success? Conclusion References Does Germany Need Labour Migration? Introduction Labour shortages Labourmarket Conclusion Labourmigration References Dutch Integration Model The "Dutch model"? The end? Intention and reality A new view Where next? References Impressum

Issues facing skilled female migrants

Eleonore Kofman and Parvati Raghuram

/ 7 Minuten zu lesen

Gender shapes the migration process in many different ways. In countries of origin gender discrimination in access to education can mean that fewer women than men have the ability to acquire the skills that are necessary to migrate under immigration schemes that favour skilled workers. On the other hand, gender discriminatory employment practices in origin countries can encourage some women to migrate in search of better prospects abroad.

Skilled female migrants at German language classes in Saxony. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

In this section we focus on two specific issues that face skilled migrant women: the impact of immigration regulations on entry, and the extent to which skilled migrant women are actually able to use their skills in the labour market after entering the destination country.

Immigration Regulation Frameworks


Immigration regulations have considerable influence on skilled women´s ability to migrate. The classic states of immigration (Australia, Canada, USA) and the UK began to position themselves as from the late 1990s in the global competition for skilled labour, altering their immigration regulations to facilitate the entry of skilled migrants. However, the particular criteria adopted for filtering in people with skills have varied across different countries and have influenced migrant women differently.

In countries where the selection of migrants favours occupations, such as ICT, in which more males than females are generally trained and employed, a heavily masculinised skilled migration results. As a recent analysis of gender and skilled migration in New Zealand commented, "gendered migration may be more connected with the type of occupation the migrant is coming to New Zealand to work in rather than with the source country."

In Europe, the recruitment of skilled labour has been far more limited but most countries have had a similar sectoral bias towards ICT, thus implicitly favouring men. The actual routes that have opened to these professionals vary. Some countries, such as Austria, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Latvia, impose quotas. In others, such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden, labour demand drives recruitment. In many instances, schemes are largely aimed at the fields of ICT, engineering and research, as has been the case in Germany and France. In the Netherlands, a scheme to attract knowledge workers has also seen many of the permits being taken up by ICT workers. Sectoral bias in defining skills, therefore, remains a key issue influencing female skilled migration.

In Canada, education and language attainment reflecting human capital has replaced occupation as a filter for migration, and lead to an increase in the proportion of females in the skilled worker class migration category. This was particularly seen in the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which came into force in 2002. Amongst skilled workers, 32% were women in 2007 compared to 24% in 2000. It appears that although women are still a minority amongst skilled worker principal applicants, this shift to a broader human capital approach is likely to be less disadvantageous to women as their educational qualifications increase and with continuing shortages in sectors such as care-work and nursing.

Amongst some of the European states with routes for the highly skilled, such as the UK, earnings prior to entry are important in deciding entry. Earnings in the destination country too are assessed for offering continuation of stay as in the British points based system. This criterion becomes relevant when gender-pay gaps are taken into consideration. Globally, the pay-gap between men and women averages 16%. In other words, women tend to earn, on average, 16% less than men with an equivalent job. In high-income countries such as the United States and Canada, the gap is often higher. In the UK, it has been shown that the gender pay gap increases as a person´s level of education increases and is higher in female-dominated occupations. Thus it is likely that women will be negatively influenced by the use of earnings as a criterion in admitting skilled migrants. These issues also affect countries such as Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands, where earnings are also used in defining highly skilled migrants. Besides the pay gap generally faced by women, skilled female migrants are to be found to a greater extent in the highly regulated and lesser remunerated sectors such as nursing, teaching and social work, which places them at an even greater disadvantage.

The only country that has begun to recognize the inherent gender-selectivity involved in skilled migration programmes is Canada. It has instituted a gender-based analysis (GBA) of immigration policy (as well as settlement and integration programmes), which is described as: "a process that assesses the differential impact of proposed and/or existing policies, programs and legislation on women and men. It makes it possible for policy to be undertaken with an appreciation of gender differences, of the nature of relationships between women and men and of their different social realities, life expectations and economic circumstances."

Analyzing the gendered effects and outcomes of immigration policies requires full data sets and intensive qualitative research so that the effects of education, income, sectoral employment patterns and age, for instance, can be considered as they operate alongside gender. For instance, do women who take career breaks due to child-bearing and rearing find it harder to enter as skilled migrants, as work experience in the years prior to immigration is evaluated? The number of skilled female migrants can also vary according to nationality. For instance, there are more women in migrants streams from India than China but this can only be understood by studying gender and nationality simultaneously. Moreover, longitudinal data could help us understand the effect of economic factors in sending and receiving states on female skilled migration.

Skills recognition


Another significant factor influencing the experiences of skilled migrants is the framework for recognising skills. Although deskilling is a common experience among all migrants, women face a particularly high level of deskilling. One study on migrant women in OECD countries clearly demonstrates that women were more likely to be overqualified for their jobs than men. In some countries, particularly in Southern Europe, this is likely due to shortages in less skilled sectors, especially domestic labour, highly protected skilled sectors and non-recognition of non-EU qualifications.

Percentage of women (15-64) in jobs for which they are overqualified by birth status 2003-2004
Native-bornForeign-bornForeign-born non-OECD
Austria9,324,832,8
Belgium17,724,627,2
Czech Republic6,612,822,0
Denmark10,519,731,0
Finland18,826,238,0
France14,218,819,8
Germany9,923,632,3
Greece9,053,462,0
Hungary7,310,58,9
Ireland15,623,938,2
Italy7,127,434,0
Luxembourg3,214,131,0
Norway10,625,135,9
Portugal8,916,218,7
Spain24,447,656,7
Sweden7,215,323,2
Switzerland7,613,819,8
United Kingdom14,917,018,7
Source: Table I.16 SOPEMI 2006

Moreover, the level of 'brain-waste', i.e. under-use of the qualifications that migrants possess, is higher for women who migrated from non-OECD countries than for those who migrated within the OECD (see Table above). Within Europe, women migrants from the Eastern European accession countries were also affected by deskilling – the bulk of migrants since 2004 have filled low skilled jobs in old EU countries. They are now covered by EU regulations concerning the recognition of qualifications but it is not yet clear to what extent, as they improve their language skills and settle in, they will be able to move into more qualified employment reflecting their educational level.

This deskilling is particularly apparent in the highly feminised sector of nursing. A study of international nurse recruits in the UK, mainly from Europe, Australia, Africa and Philippines, found that many nurses felt that their skills were not appreciated or respected and that they faced racism and xenophobia. Nurses also experienced a considerable degree of downgrading of their skills as they entered the labour market at levels well below that which they occupied before migration. Furthermore their experiences varied considerably depending on whether they worked in the private or public sector. Those employed in the UK National Health Service had more positive experiences than those who entered the private independent sector where, though entering as skilled migrants, they were frequently used as care assistants.
Deskilling also affects doctors. In the UK this deskilling is institutionalised through the creation of a cadre of posts where doctors work in hospitals in a range of sub-consultant posts, where they have large service commitments but few career prospects. Overseas qualified doctors dominate in these grades. However, the level of deskilling is higher among migrant women who qualified outside the EEA. Thus, in 2001 in England, 42 per cent of all non-EEA qualified doctors in this category of posts were women, while only 22 percent of EEA doctors in this category were women.

Some of the factors that lead to the deskilling of migrants are common to both men and women. A project on skilled migrants commissioned by the European Commission in four European countries (Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) developed a typology which reflected the degree to which migrants were able to find employment commensurate to their qualifications and educational level. The study found that individual, informal and institutional factors play their part. It concludes that qualified migrants living in EU countries are an underused resource for the labour market. The process of recognition of qualifications for non-EU countries is estimated by this research to be the major problem for labour integration and it is considered to be too complex, lengthy, costly and discouraging for qualified immigrants. Successful and effective formal channels for information about and access to employment are also lacking. Moreover, even professional women find that racist stereotyping influenced their ability to gain employment. The lack of support structures for newly arrived qualified immigrant forces them to rely on informal networks. The study also identified a lack of affordable, accessible and appropriate professional language courses for qualified immigrants. Qualified immigrants were found to have difficulties in finding proper housing, which produces problems of access to the labour market and fuels discrimination and social exclusion.

However, some of these factors influence women more than men. For instance, the ability to attend professional language courses may be more limited for women who have childcare responsibilities. The loss of social networks, personal and professional, after women migrate can be worse for women if family responsibilities prevent them from accessing new networks. Women´s need to re-skill or to get accreditation may also be given less priority by families when there is gender hierarchy within households. Eventually, lengthy periods out of the labour market and under-employment harm the self-esteem of such migrants and increase deskilling.

Fussnoten

Fußnoten

  1. See Badkar et al. (2007).

  2. See EMN (2007a).

  3. See Kofman et al. (2005: 35-6).

  4. See Dumont and Liebig (2005).

  5. See Allan and Aggergaard Larsen (2003).

  6. See Raghuram and Kofman (2002).