Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/180998
Authors: 
Imai, Susumu
Stacey, Derek
Warman, Casey
Year of Publication: 
2018
Series/Report no.: 
GLO Discussion Paper No. 239
Publisher: 
Global Labor Organization (GLO), Maastricht
Abstract: 
We examine the ability of immigrants to transfer the occupational human capital they acquired prior to immigration. We first augment a model of occupational choice to study the implications of language proficiency on the cross-border transferability of occupational human capital. We then explore the empirical predictions using information about the skill requirements from the O*NET and a unique dataset that includes both the last source country occupation and the first four years of occupations in Canada. We supplement the analysis using Census estimates for the same cohort with source country occupational skill requirements predicted using detailed human capital related information such as field of study. We find that male immigrants to Canada were employed in source country occupations that typically require high levels of cognitive skills, but rely less intently on manual skills. Following immigration, they find initial employment in occupations that require the opposite. Consistent with the hypothesized asymmetric role of language in the transferability of previously acquired cognitive and manual skills, these discrepancies are larger among immigrants with limited language fluency.
Subjects: 
occupational mobility
language proficiency
skills
tasks
human capital
immigration
field of study
Canada
point system
economic immigrants
entry class
JEL: 
J24
J31
J61
J62
J71
J80
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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