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Far From Being a Burden, Research Suggests Refugees Come With Benefits

An Open Political Economy Network study released last May determined that an investment in “welcoming refugees” will nearly double in economic benefits within five years. Refugees often take “4D” jobs — dirty, difficult, dangerous or dull — that many don’t want. They start new businesses that create new jobs. The experience of being uprooted from one culture and exposed to another often sparks creativity and entrepreneurship among refugees. And they tend to be young, with a lifetime to work.

The report points to Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and 1980s who arrived in foreign countries to much disdain and dismay. “Yet refugees from Vietnam now have a higher employment rate and greater average incomes than people born in the U.S.,” according to the report. Furthermore, “policymakers and practitioners should stop considering refugees as a ‘burden’ to be shared, but rather as an opportunity to be welcomed.”

Karen J. Coates, in Undark magazine

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