On a good day, Muhammed Rufai Batmanoglu picks up about 20 passengers for Lyft or Uber, mostly in Manhattan or Brooklyn. On a slow day, he takes riders as far as Riverdale in the Bronx to make ends meet. It’s a long trip for a Staten Island resident, and a huge career setback for a biomedical engineer from Turkey.
“In Turkey, I had a good job and a Ph.D.,” says Batmanoglu, 32. “When I came to America, the land of dreams, I was downgraded to a driving profession.”
He’s one of a growing number of skilled immigrants who have moved to the United States since 2010. He’s also part of nearly 2 million who work at jobs that hardly require an education, according to the Migration Policy Institute, an independent research organization in Washington.