From Overqualified to Underemployed: The Unfortunate Reality of Migrants in the Netherlands

Written by Evita Julissa M. Rodulfo
From Overqualified to Underemployed: The Unfortunate Reality of Immigrants in the Netherlands

The Paradox of Over Qualification and Underemployment

As one of Europe's most open and dynamic economies, the Netherlands has attracted many skilled migrants from all over the world. These individuals come with impressive qualifications, advanced degrees, and professional experience. However, despite their exceptional credentials, many struggle to find meaningful employment in their chosen fields. Instead, they are often forced to take jobs far below their skill level, resulting in the paradox of over-qualification and underemployment.

Underemployment in the Netherlands

Factors Contributing to the Problem

Several factors contribute to this problem. One of the greatest challenges is the mismatch between the qualifications and experience of these migrants and the job opportunities available in the Netherlands. Many migrants find that the job market in their field is highly competitive, with a limited number of available positions. This can force them to seek employment outside their expertise or accept jobs far below their experience and education level.

Another contributing factor is Dutch employers' lack of recognition of foreign degrees and qualifications. Many highly skilled migrants find that their credentials are not valued in the same way as those obtained in the Netherlands. This can create a significant barrier to employment, even for individuals with impressive resumes and extensive professional networks.

Solutions to Address the Issue

Numerous solutions are necessary to address the concern of over-qualification and underemployment among migrants in the Netherlands. Firstly, there needs to be a concerted effort to improve the recognition of foreign degrees and qualifications. Employers must be educated on the value of international experience and credentials, and steps must be taken to ensure these qualifications are more easily understood and accepted.

Another critical solution is providing better support for immigrants seeking employment in the Netherlands. This could include mentorship programs, job fairs, and other initiatives to connect migrants with potential employers. Migrants can better position themselves for meaningful employment by providing more networking and professional development opportunities.

Underemployment in the Netherlands

The Role of the Empowerment Foundation

Empowerment Foundation can provide valuable support for migrants struggling to find employment or facing other challenges related to work integration. We offer a range of services. By partnering with us, immigrants can access the resources they need to navigate the Dutch job market and build meaningful careers in their chosen fields.

The Netherlands


The issue of over-qualification and underemployment among migrants in the Netherlands is a complex problem that requires a multifaceted solution. By improving the recognition of foreign credentials and providing better support for immigrants looking for employment, we can help address this issue and ensure that skilled migrants can contribute their talents and expertise to the Dutch economy. For migrants struggling to find employment, seeking support from Empowerment Foundation can be an excellent way to access the resources and guidance they need to succeed.