The role of pre-migration human capital in the economic integration of immigrants in France: Professional versus general skills

By Nadiya Ukrayinchuk, Xavier Chojnicki, Harriet Coleman

The objective of this article is to differentiate the role played by transversal skills and professional skills, accumulated by migrants in their home country, on their chances of getting a job in France, as well as on the adequacy between different job characteristics (socio-professional category and wage) and pre-migratory skills. To quantify the impact of the transferability of human capital, we use the data from the Trajectories and Origins survey (2008). We show that pre-migration human capital plays an important role both in obtaining employment and in maintaining or furthering one’s socio-occupational position, as well as in remuneration. Using several indicators of immigrant integration, quantitative and qualitative, we show that, with the exception of language skills, other transversal skills do not play the expected role. Conversely, professional skills allow for better economic integration. Nevertheless, we show that certain pre-migratory professional skills are not transferable and hence they are associated with low economic integration, the effect that is persistent over time.

  • immigration
  • economic integration
  • pre-migration human capital
  • France
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