Should I stay or should I go? Skilled immigrants' perceived brain-waste and social embeddedness

Farveh Farivar, Roslyn Cameron, Jaya A.R. Dantas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Drawing on embeddedness theory, we examine how skilled immigrants' perceived brain-waste affects their social embeddedness. Social embeddedness facilitates the acquisition of host country-specific human capital, which, in return, can accelerate the transfer of immigrants' human capital in the workplace. Design/methodology/approach: In total, 397 skilled immigrants in Australia participated in this study. We applied a set-theoretic approach to decode the complexity and interplay among the key concepts used in this study. Findings: We found the impacts of psychological workplace wellbeing and workplace discrimination on social embeddedness differ between skilled immigrants who experience perceived brain-waste and skilled immigrants whose skills were recognized by employers. The results suggest that job satisfaction is the most critical factor contributing to social embeddedness among skilled immigrants who did not report brain-waste. Furthermore, we found that married skilled male immigrants who reported brain-waste still could embed socially if they did not directly experience workplace discrimination. Originality/value: The majority of previous studies have compared skilled immigrants with their local-born colleagues, but we compared two groups of skilled migrants in the current study. We adopted fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis to test how unique configurations of several variables can ease their social embeddedness into the host society.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonnel Review
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Brain-waste
  • Job satisfaction
  • Skilled immigrants
  • Social embeddedness
  • Workplace discrimination


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