chapter: Occupational Licensure and Changing Barriers to Immigrant Workforce Incorporation

Immigrant Jobs


For migrants arriving with little financial capital, or for those arriving as adults after the acquisition of education credentials in their countries of origin, licensing requirements can act as substantial barriers to entry. On the other hand, licensing institutionalizes entry, which may have the effect of enhancing accessibility for immigrants, and particularly for recent arrivals, who may otherwise lack the occupational social networks necessary to find and obtain jobs or the cultural capital to follow typical informal paths to entry. We show that licensing eases access into occupations for immigrants, but the effect is limited to those who are in the high-skilled primary labor market. Left behind are the most vulnerable immigrant labor groups – those who recently entered the country, and those who make the transition after achieving educational credentials that are not recognized by licensing bodies in their chosen occupations. With Koji Chavez.

Published in: 2015. In How Global Migration Changes the Workforce Diversity Equation, edited by Tayo Fashoyin, Michele Tiraboschi, Francesca Sperotti, Chris Tilly, and Pietro Manzella. Cambridge Scholar Publications.