Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2018


With increasing globalization, more people are moving across borders and between countries than ever before. Immigrants often come to the United States to create better lives for themselves and take advantage of the opportunities available. Yet for skilled immigrants this is often an idealistic goal, since there are many barriers to employment that prevent these individuals from working in their professional fields. Through a mixed methods approach encompassing case studies from literature, original survey data, and insights drawn from interviews and discussions, this thesis investigates the different barriers to employment for foreign-born workers in Maine, and provides recommendations for addressing these obstacles. The most significant barriers identified were lack of English language skills, inability to have credentials (such as education and professional training) recognized and transferred, and confusion surrounding standards of the U.S. job market and the cultural elements of networking and the job application process. The most impactful recommendations, corresponding to these challenges, were the implementation of training programs in areas such as English language and retraining for specific professions, as well as support in navigating the job search and application process, streamlining the credential evaluation process, and working with employers directly to establish programs tailored to their specific labor needs. Maine’s unique demographic situation provides greater incentive for reducing or eliminating obstacles that hinder immigrants seeking employment in skilled positions who can provide needed labor to combat an employment crisis.

Included in

Anthropology Commons