brain waste
n. Immigrants who were skilled professionals in their home countries but have been forced to take unskilled jobs in their new country.

Example Citations:
Once in Canada, many skilled immigrants, particularly those with Indian, Caribbean, Chinese or Arab backgrounds, wind up in occupations far below their educational levels—despite having been selected for high levels of training and experience in professions such as health care, engineering and education. The problem is known as "brain waste" and some economists estimate its cost to Canada as totalling at least $3 billion a year, not to mention the ruined dreams suffered by the immigrants themselves.
—Jeffrey G. Reitz, "Taxi Driver Syndrome," Literary Review of Canada, March 1, 2011

Montenegro is hardly unique, given the high U.S. unemployment rate these days. Her situation reflects a trend that some researchers call "brain waste" — a term applied to immigrants who were skilled professionals in their home countries, yet are stymied in their efforts to find work in the U.S. that makes full use of their education or training.
—Deepti Hajela, "'Brain waste' thwarts immigrants' career dreams," Associated Press, March 27, 2011

Earliest Citation:
If the labour market cannot absorb the migrants at the level of their qualifications, the phenomenon changes its nature: brain drain from the sending countries becomes 'brain waste' for the migrants.4...
  1. The term 'brain waste' was first suggested by R. Münz at the COST Pilot Seminar in 1991.
—Russell King, The New Geography of European Migrations, Belhaven Press, November 1, 1993

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