No longer salaried professionals : a case study of educated Taiwanese migrant women in the U.S.



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Most migration literature shows that skilled professionals have upward social mobility. But all of this literature is mostly about men. Plus, it focuses on individuals who are already on the job market. How immigrant women fare in the labor market and what about women who are still not incorporated into the high wage sector are seldom discussed. This research shows that professional migrant women face downward mobility. With limited job opportunities, as a result of having both visible barriers (legal constraints) and invisible barriers (culture, language, social network, credential and so on), the high-achieving migrant women become more "traditional" in the United States. Their roles as wives, mothers, part-time workers, volunteers take on a bigger aspect of their lives than their professional lives. In Taiwan they were far more active in the sphere of the economy, earning an independent income, but in the U.S. that is reversed. The experiences of these educated migrant women demonstrate that immigration does not uniformly empower migrants nor does it imply upward economic and social mobility. The study hopes to be the basis for further investigations of upper middle class migrant women in other areas in the America, and hopes to be the basis for future development to understand migrants’ downwards mobility in general.