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Playing With: Worthless Foreign Degree

Basic Trope: A person who had a high-paying/prestigious job in another country does menial work in the setting of the work.
  • Straight: Bob worked as a doctor in Troperistan, but works as a janitor in Troperia.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Bob was the CEO of a Fiction 500 company based in Troperistan, but works as a janitor in Troperia.
    • Bob has multiple PhDs from Troperistan but can only get work as a janitor in Troperia.
  • Downplayed: Bob worked as a doctor in Troperistan, but can only find work as a medical assistant in Troperia.
  • Justified:
    • Bob's Troperistanian qualifications and certificates aren't recognized by Troperian hospitals for various reasons.
    • Bob doesn't speak Troperian very well, if at all.
    • Employers suspect that diploma mills may be using 'foreign' degrees as a cover.
    • Troperia has a shortage of doctors and government policy there is to hire native-born Troperian students first.
    • Or, conversely, Troperia has too many doctors and as such there just isn't room for Bob.
    • The quality of medical training (or education in general) in Troperistan is considered sub-par by Troperian standards, so Bob's qualifications and experience carry little weight with recruiters.
  • Inverted: Bob was a lowly janitor in Troperistan, but when he arrives in Troperia, he's offered a job as a doctor.
  • Subverted: The chief of medicine at the hospital where Bob is applying to work acts as if he's going to reject Bob, but hires him.
  • Double Subverted: The chief of medicine at the hospital where Bob is applying to work acts as if he's going to reject Bob, but hires him... as a janitor.
  • Parodied: All the janitors at the hospital have prestigious medical degrees from foreign countries.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob was a doctor in Troperistan, but can only find menial work as a janitor in Troperia. Alice, on the other hand, was a short-order cook from Troperistan who got a high-paying systems analyst job in Troperia. Charlie, a third immigrant from Troperistan, worked with Bob at their old hospital, and fills a similar job as a surgeon in Troperia.
  • Averted: Bob, a doctor from Troperistan, finds a similar job as a doctor in Troperia.
  • Enforced: In a time of widespread xenophobia, the writers can't write a competent and ethically scrupulous foreign character without mass backlash.
  • Lampshaded: "I had dignified work back home!"
  • Invoked: "Hey, let's ask Bob the janitor. I'll bet he was a doctor back in Troperistan."
  • Exploited: Bob the janitor may not be officially recognized as a doctor, but Bob still has the skills of a doctor and people go to see him instead of 'real' doctors because he gives cheap 'advice' and they give him monetary 'gifts'. Totally not practising medicine without a licence at all.
  • Defied: Bob goes to medical school in Troperia at the first opportunity so that he can keep up his rewarding career.
  • Discussed: Bob asks Inhuman Resources director Dan if hospitals in Troperia will honour qualifications earned in Troperistan.
  • Conversed: "This show sure doesn't paint a picture of an immigrant-friendly society."

Back in old country I was highly paid computer engineer! Now, I guide people back to Worthless Foreign Degree.