What is it about?

This paper discusses the trends and patterns of emigration from Eastern Africa, otherwise known as the Horn of Africa. In particular, the paper focuses on the countries that collectively account for most African immigrants to the United States (US), namely Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia. Using a review of literature, the paper provides some explanation of the history of immigration from East Africa to the US, and an examination and discussion of the root causes, the trends, and patterns resulting in refugees and immigration to the country. An explanation of the causes for this is offered by drawing connections to the work and occupational profiles of these immigrants, once they are in the US, within a historical context. This

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Why is it important?

There is a need for transformational policies that would enhance the work and occupational profiles of immigrants. Any such policies should take into consideration the historical context that resulted in their immigration paths. The cultural context and acculturative dynamics of these immigrants should also be considered in the policy formulations, and Human Resource Development (HRD) with its sociological foundations can be a home for this emergent research.


While immigration is predicted to slow in the United States in coming years, HRD professionals should remain concerned about employees for whom English is a second language, the number of foreign-born workers, and the acculturation of immigrants to the workplace. It is imperative that these HRD challenges are examined within the larger political context en route to understanding contemporary barriers to workplace equality. HRD needs to provide the ‘critical platform to unveil “hidden” aspects of organizational reality, challenge individual abilities to informal personal and professional practices, enhance personal learning and support the development of positive working environment for all employees,’ including the uniqueness of immigrants and refugees in the workforce.

Professor Robert M Yawson
Quinnipiac University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Work and occupational profile of Eastern African immigrants in the United States: a historical overview, Human Resource Development International, January 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/13678868.2019.1570480.
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