SNS research brief 72. Assessment of Foreign Education. The Effects on Employment and Wages

Andrey Tibajev

SNS Analys 2021.04.29

Recognition statements of the foreign education of newly arrived immigrants lead to higher employment and wages. However, this does not result in jobs corresponding to their level of education and the effect is generally lower for immigrants arriving from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

SNS research brief 72. Assessment of Foreign Education. The Effects on Employment and Wages 27.5 KB PDF

Newly arrived university educated immigrants having received a formal recognition of their foreign education from the Swedish Council for Higher Education exhibit higher wages and employment rates. This is shown by Andrey Tibajev in a study involving newly arrived immigrants whose foreign education was recognized between 2007 and 2011. Andrey Tibajev is a PhD student in ethnic and migration studies at Linköping University and the author of the SNS report Assessing Foreign Education: The Effects on Employment and Wages.

His results show that the rate of employment increased by about 4 percentage points after having received such a statement. Furthermore, wages were, on average, about 14 percent higher among employed immigrants.

“I find this effect to be quite large, considering that the only thing having occurred is that these individuals have received a document translating their education into Swedish conditions, which they can use when applying for jobs. Issuing such statements is a cheap measure compared to many other labor market programs,” according to Andrey Tibajev.

A more discouraging result is that these immigrants mostly get jobs at lower income levels. Receiving this kind of statement probably makes it easier for university educated immigrants to enter the labor market, but it does not help them in terms of gaining access to better-paying jobs corresponding to their level of education.

The study also shows that the effects of such statements differ depending on the immigrants’ country of origin. Tibajev finds that the effect of these statements is significantly lower when it comes to newly arrived university graduates arriving from Africa, Asia and Latin America compared to, for instance, Europe and North America. In addition, he shows that the effect of receiving such a statement is less significant for individuals trying to enter the labor market in times of recession.

“The individuals who perhaps need the most assistance in terms of entering the labor market are also the ones who benefit the least from receiving a recognition statement. My conclusion is that we need more comprehensive measures that also focus on the actual human capital, such as supplementary education, validating skills and internships, in order for more newly arrived university graduates to get employed and, in the long run, get jobs corresponding to their education,” says Andrey Tibajev.

About the report

Tibajev analyzes newly arrived immigrants who received a recognition statement on their foreign education in 2007–2011. He links the data on statements to data on migration and income. Only educations related to non-regulated professions are included in the study, which means that the results are not driven by individuals going from not being allowed to practice a certain profession to being allowed to do so. The most common educations in the sample are business administration, technology, teaching and social sciences. The study includes more than 12,500 individuals.