Migrants as agents of change: labour market returns to foreign experience

Abstract

In our series of policy recommendations we offer conscise take-aways from the most recent migration research

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Our research provides a comprehensive view on the value of international experience for emigrants and returnees, but also for the labour markets in Latvia and in the host countries of Latvian emigrants. It provides empirical evidence that migrants can indeed become agents of change in terms of business models, work practices, workplace environment. More than one third of emigrants and return migrants consider themselves «difficult-to-replace» workers, and having foreign experience brings returns in the labour market in terms of wages. However, it is crucial for earnings and well-being that experience is acquired in job-specific field. Moreover, locally owned companies need to be encouraged to acknowledge the skills acquired abroad, particularly in case of female workers. Soft skills, not just specific (hard) skills, are shown to be important for increasing wages, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction in general, and need to be appreciated by the employers more.

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