Thousands of foreign-trained United States citizens, as well as immigrant graduates, are still wondering when and where they will get employed. It is not because of lack of necessary skills, in fact, they are even more qualified than their counterparts who graduate from American colleges and universities (Desbiens & Vidaillet, 2010). The single reason is discrimination of foreign education in the United States. For a long time, United States government, employers, and institutions have rejected job seekers with foreign transcripts, especially in medical industry. The discrimination is due to protection of the United States graduates against competition, perceived the unmatched quality of standards in American industries, barriers to limit immigrants from taking United States jobs, low-quality education abroad and that graduates should return to the government what was invested in educating them.
The discrimination of foreign education in the United States began with the United States move to protect their graduates. Beginning in the 1970s to 80s, the number of medical students, for example, enrolling for training increased and the medical industry became competitive. Most students had to seek for training offshore. The Canadian universities, for example, realized that the offshore graduates were coming back to take the jobs leaving their graduates with no job. As a result, the American universities decided that foreign education is not superior to theirs; consequently, their graduates should get priority in employment before the offshore graduates (Desbiens & Vidaillet, 2010). They pressured the government and were allowed to control main training agencies such as College of Physicians (Pawliuk, 2014). Their control over main professional training agencies implied that they would determine who is given priority. As a result, they locked out foreign graduates to protect their graduates against competing with them for few slots in those agencies.
Apart from protecting students against foreign competitors, the discrimination of foreign education in the United States has been provoked by the perceived high-quality standards within the American industries. For example, the American medical industry is thought to be of high-quality standards in the world and that students trained elsewhere may not be qualified to meet such unmatched standards (Halperin & Goldberg, 2016). The Americans believe that it is only their schools that can produce most qualified graduates who can continue to provide high-quality services that meet the standards of their industries. Also, the high-quality standards perception has been rooted in the organizational cultural contingency and democracy ((Foster, 2008). Professions, especially medical, are culturally regulated to disadvantage foreign-born, and foreign-trained graduates who are believed may interfere with the quality standards in the American industries. The unmatched quality standards upheld within the industries have consequently made the United States employers believe that their colleges, and not any others in the world, offer quality training to graduates who can then uphold such standards.
Furthermore, the foreign graduates have been despised in the United States as a measure to control foreign immigrants from displacing their citizens in the labor market. The United States is a country that offers good remuneration and salaries which have made everyone wish to work and live in America. Given this, American employers do not easily accept foreign-educated graduates into their industries as a barrier to employment and to block the influx of foreign immigrants into the job market as this would leave American citizens jobless ((Labonte, Packer & Klassen, 2006). Also, there is a fear that some foreign graduates and immigrants could be highly qualified that when recognized could easily displace Americans in the upper segments of the labor market (Brauder, 2013). The only way to prevent such a scenario is to impose discriminatory measures on the foreign graduates to ensure they do not outdo the U.S graduates in the job market.
Another reason towards discrimination of the foreign education is the fact that the qualifications for professions in other countries are lower as compared to the United States. For example, it has been noticed that those American born who go abroad to study medicine could not secure a place in the American medical schools due to lower grade point average (GPA) (Halperin & Goldberg (2016). This means that other countries allow lower grades into medicine than American medical schools do and it would only be fair not to allow such graduates to compete with more qualified graduates from U.S medical universities. Also, those American students, as well as immigrants, who have trained in low-income countries, are not qualified as the U.S graduates who were accessed to enough resources (Pittman et al., 2014). It is logical that low-income countries do not afford quality training equipment to produce qualified professionals, and this is a reasoning that has seen American employers consider foreign trained graduates as being less qualified.
Moreover, the discrimination of foreign education in the United States has been due to the argument that governments spend tax payer's money to train professionals who should, in turn, offer their services to the taxpayer. "Because governments spend money on medical education, countries want a return on their investment" (Mulan, 2011). This argument implies that every country should have their professions work in those countries because they have been educated through taxpayers' money. It implies that U.S should discriminate foreign graduates as they ought to offer services to governments that paid for their training. Also, the argument attempts to imply that America should discriminate foreign immigrants to shield foreign governments from losing those who have incurred costs on their training to America. Graduates in other countries would come to practice in U.S yet they were expected to return on their investment to their countries.
Additionally, the discrimination of foreign graduates in the United States is attributed to the long and expensive procedures recertification procedures and decentralized federal system of governance. Due to the federal system of government in America, there is no single structure governing professional certification in regulated occupations (Rabben, 2013). As a result, foreign graduates are being subjected to validation training, varying treatment methods, and protocols, workplace structures, ethics, and vocabularies. The recertification and validation process is time-consuming and costly to the foreign graduate (Credentialing of Foreign Degrees for a United States Government Application, n.d.). If one fails to follow these procedures, they are not considered for employment in the U.S. lack of a common structure to recertify foreign credentials exposes the foreign graduates to varying discriminatory measures in different states.
The discrimination of foreign education in the United States is founded on valid reasons. Discriminating foreign graduates remedies inflow of immigrants who would snatch jobs from Americans. It also ensures that governments get return on investment in educating their professionals. Similarly, the discrimination is due to perceived high quality standards in American industries which should be upheld through employing highly qualified graduates from American schools. However, protecting American graduates against competition from foreign-trained graduates is unnecessary measure that serves to breed incompetency in the American education system. When the American graduates are not allowed to compete with other graduates from other countries, it will be difficult to compare how qualified American graduates are to graduates from other countries. Similarly, it will be difficult to improve training for American professionals. Consequently, American education would stagnate. Therefore, discrimination of foreign education in the United States should be re-checked to avoid a scenario where American graduates are simply protected against competition from foreign graduates.
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Credentialing of Foreign Degrees for a United States Government Application. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/219100.htm
Desbiens, N. A., & Vidaillet, H. J. (2010). Discrimination against international medical graduates in the United States residency program selection process. BMC medical education, 10(1), 5.
Foster, L. P. (2008). Foreign trained doctors in Canada: Cultural contingency and cultural democracy in the medical profession. International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory, 1(1).
Halperin, E. C., & Goldberg, R. B. (2016). Offshore medical schools are buying clinical clerkships in US hospitals: the problem and potential solutions. Academic Medicine, 91(5), 639-644.
Labonte, R., Packer, C., & Klassen, N. (2006). Managing health professional migration from sub-Saharan Africa to Canada: a stakeholder inquiry into policy options. Human Resources for Health, 4(1), 22.
Mulan (2011) Foreign-trained doctors kept out of practice in US. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from https://www.pri.org/stories/2011-04-14/foreign-trained-doctors-kept-out-practice-us
Pawliuk, R. (2014, August 04). Opinion: Canada shuts door on Canadian doctors who go to foreign medical schools. Retrieved November 21, 2017, from http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Opinion Canada shuts door Canadian doctors foreign medical schools/9714934/story.html
Pittman, P., Davis, C., Shaffer, F., Herrera, C. N., & Bennett, C. (2014). Perceptions of employment-based discrimination among newly arrived foreign-educated nurses. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 114(1), 26-35.
Rabben, L. (2013). Credential recognition in the United States for foreign professionals. Migration Policy Institute, 1-17.
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