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The Professional Credentials of Immigrants: A Status-and-Expectations Approach

Advances in Group Processes

ISBN: 978-1-78190-976-8

Publication date: 23 September 2013



(a) To examine “native-born/immigrant” (nativity) and “national/foreign professional credentials” (country of credentials) as status factors in terms of expectation states theory, and (b) to lay out a blueprint for a theory-based, experimental research agenda in this area.


(for (b) above). I propose a research program based on three types of expectation states experimental designs: the open group-discussion, the rejection-of-influence standardized setting, and the application-files format. All three incorporate measures of either biased evaluations or double standards for competence, or of both. I illustrate how these designs can be adapted to assess, through the presence/absence of one or the other of those practices, the separate impacts of nativity, country of professional credentials and selected additional factors on the inference of task competence. The need for and the advantages of systematic, experimental work on this topic are highlighted.


(from (a) above). I review evidence of the status value of nativity and country of credentials through data on evaluations, employment, and earnings. My evidence originates in contemporary Canadian studies that present results from surveys, interviews, census records, and – to a lesser extent – experiments, and these findings support my claim.

Practical/social implications

The proposed research will facilitate the development of interventions toward the standardized and unbiased assessment of immigrants’ foreign credentials.


The agenda I put forth constitutes a novel approach to the study of nativity and country of credentials. The work will extend the expectation states program, and enhance immigration research both theoretically and methodologically.




I thank Emma Dewit, Neil Guppy, Michael Kehl, and Maria Zeldis for their valuable comments and suggestions on an earlier text of this chapter.


Foschi, M. (2013), "The Professional Credentials of Immigrants: A Status-and-Expectations Approach", Advances in Group Processes (Advances in Group Processes, Vol. 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 131-155.



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