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Bringing Refugees into Work (c) Shutterstock / alexskopje

Bringing Refugees into Work

Around the world almost 60 million people are forcibly displaced according to the UNHCR.


Both while they are displaced and when they return to their often utterly destroyed country of origin, finding a livelihood that does not depend on transfers is possibly the most important economic challenge.


However, there are relatively few policy options that go beyond providing some basic skills that might foster economic success in the labor market. Where refugee numbers are very large as a share of the population or where their skills do not match those demanded by employers, full economic integration is very difficult.


In some countries this had led to the emergence of ethnic enclaves, where immigrants do not directly compete with natives and rather work in newly emerging firms. Just as the economic recovery after returningto a home country, the economic activity in these enclaves is highly dependent on refugees’ entrepreneurship.


Still, while available labor is often abundant, refugees typically lack capital, especially when returning to a war-torn place, the institutional setting may be detrimental to economic growth. And even if foreign aid or money from the diaspora provide the necessary capital, a low starting point will mean that reaching a high level of prosperity will take a very long time unless growth rates are extremely high.


Ideas and solution proposals are needed on how such fast growth can be achieved. The ideas presented should offer ways of bringing many people into work and prosperity in a short time.


How can we achieve integration of refugees into the labor market? How can we foster entrepreneurship in order to generate rapid economic growth? How can we bring many people into work and prosperity?



A selection of literature has been compiled by our team of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics in the following list. You can use EconBiz to research further information and literature.

Logo Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg

The project group of the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg is working on the topic “Bringing Refugees into Work”. The project group is supported by an expert team of the YES! 2016.

The topic “Bringing Refugees into Work” stems from the Global Economic Symposium (GES), which is organized by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in cooperation with the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

Pictures (from top to bottom): (c) Shutterstock / alexskopje, (c) Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg