Human capital is essential for fostering innovation and economic development, since skilled professionals – in particular, workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields increase economic productivity. There are two ways to increase STEM human capital in a country: high levels of investment in education, and talent attraction and retention. As investment in education only yields results in the long term, the strategy for meeting short-term needs involves building a foreign workforce.The relative lack of human capital in Brazil is a major barrier to economic development. Consequently, the attraction of STEM migrants could be a short-term solution to this problem. Thus, our paper contributes to the literature on immigration in various ways. There are no studies on immigrants in STEM occupations in Brazil, and in this article, for the first time, we shed light on this issue. We describe the demographic, human capital and occupational characteristics of those immigrants and we address key factors that determine earnings by immigrants in STEM occupations.The main findings demonstrate the importance of demographic variables in income earned by foreigners. Immigrants, just like native-born Brazilians, face a historical system of discrimination based on gender and ethnoracial hierarchies in the workforce. Moreover, human capital characteristics also have important effects on earnings. Secondly, results show that immigrants have higher average earnings compared to native-born Brazilians in STEM occupations. This may be explained by the fact that a greater proportion of immigrants occupy a managerial STEM job, which are top-status positions that command higher pay. When the occupational factor is controlled in the OLS analysis, differences in earnings are not significant. The conclusion is that there is no evidence of discrimination regarding earnings between foreigners and natives in STEM occupations in Brazil, what may be a positive aspect for attraction and retention of migrant talents.
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