Refugees Work: A humanitarian investment that yields economic dividends

In Reports by Philippe Legrain0 Comments

Investing one euro – or dollar – in welcoming refugees can yield nearly two in economic benefits within five years.

That is a key finding of OPEN’s new report – to our knowledge, the first comprehensive, international study of how refugees can contribute to advanced economies – which is co-published with Tent, a foundation whose mission is to help forcibly displaced people.

Amid the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, developed countries are generally reluctant to admit many of the more than 22 million people forcibly displaced from their country. Yet welcoming refugees is not only a humanitarian and legal obligation, it is an investment that can yield substantial economic dividends.

When nearly a million Vietnamese “boat people” fled their country in the late 1970s and early 1980s and sought refuge elsewhere, they were typically seen as a burden and often turned away. Eventually, many were allowed to settle in the US and other countries. Most arrived speaking little or no English, with few assets or relevant job skills. Yet refugees from Vietnam now have a higher employment rate and greater average incomes than people born in the US, and they have played a key role in promoting trade and investment links with Vietnam.

This study sets out how refugees can contribute to advanced economies and what policies enable them to progress further and contribute most.

“This is a truly excellent report which should be read by anyone wishing to be informed on the subject, and particularly by policymakers,” said Peter Sutherland, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for International Migration and Development.

Download the study here

Or download it from Tent’s website here