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Using a novel panel dataset on recent immigrants in Switzerland, we study the relationship between the degree of skills utilization, the foreign-acquired education and its certification in the host country. We find that the relationship with foreign education is negative, especially when acquired in a non-EU country, in line with the literature documenting the imperfect international transferability of human capital. Obtaining a “Certificate of Equivalence” in Switzerland makes this relationship statistically non-significant: in other words, the certification enables immigrants to enjoy the same degree of skills utilization in the Swiss labour market as those with Swiss education. Additional results suggest that immigrants with a foreign but not Swiss-certified education keep the degree of skill utilization as high as it would be if they were Swiss educated when they obtain a job contract or job offer before migrating to Switzerland. These findings are robust to controlling for self-selection on unobserved characteristics.

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This page is a summary of: Does Certifying Foreign Qualifications Lead to Better Immigrant Skills Utilization?, Social Indicators Research, February 2023, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s11205-023-03069-x.
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