The emphasis on migrant women in less skilled sectors of the labour market has obscured the significant presence of skilled migrant women in the labour market. As the majority of immigration receiving countries encourage and facilitate the flow of skilled migrants, it is important that we begin to pay more attention to female skilled migrants. In this policy brief we have begun this task. We have laid out some patterns of skilled female migration and outlined some of the issues facing skilled migrant women, both in terms of entry (effect of current immigration policies) and the ability to find jobs commensurate with their skills (effect of difficulty in validating their skills).
However, in order to identify policies to address these issues, we argue that we first need more information on:
skilled migrant women and their experiences the world over;
the kinds of immigration policies which are most gender equitable; and
how the effect of gender is also affected by factors such as race, nationality, age and religion in influencing skilled migration
Within a policy context we suggest the need to address the inherent gender bias in some countries' immigration regulations. We suggest that income may be an inappropriate way of assessing skills, while more broad based methods, that include language skills and knowledge in determining skills, could be less gender-discriminatory. We also outlined the Canadian example of gender-based analysis of migration regulations as an example of good practice and suggest that this be considered by other countries.
Finally, we have emphasized the need to improve the way in which women's skills are accredited. Some of this may involve helping women to re-skill by providing them with more help with childcare, improved access to language classes and greater formal support to access the labour market. The assessment of skills should also become less dependent on gender-biased criteria such as earnings. We believe that these are important first steps in improving the experience of skilled women migrants globally.