23 SES 12 B, Theorising Policy ‘Blind-spots’ through Studies of Education and Skilled Migrants and Refugees in Europe, Canada and Australia
This paper draws on completed qualitative research on employment-related adult-education programs in Canada. While the Canadian government has been successful at recruiting highly educated migrants, immigrants tend to have poor labour-market outcomes. Research has consistently revealed that immigrants tend to be underemployed, unemployed, or working in unrelated jobs for economic survival. Educational policy has responded to the issue of deskilling by developing programs to help immigrants improve their employment outcomes by addressing labour-market barriers such as unfamiliarity with occupational-specific language, lack of social networks, and lack of local work experience. Adult educators and policymakers have responded by developing programs that aim to facilitate immigrants‘ entry into the workplace, often through the use of unpaid work placements. In these programs, local work experience is used as a marker of difference whereby immigrants, because of their lack of local work experience, are deemed inferior to other workers. The result of this classification is the continuing feminization and racialization of the labour market, with immigrants over-represented in precarious employment relations despite their superior educational credentials and international work experience.
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