Understanding the Economic Integration of Refugees into the Host Societies

Monday, 16 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Pallabi BHATTACHARYYA, Department of Sociology, Canada
Mohammad Azizur RAHMAN, University of Manitoba, Canada
According to the UNHCR, economic integration is a key factor of refugee integration. Research shows that active participation in the labour force hastens integration in other aspects of life. Although there are numerous studies on employment integration, the bulk of them has not made the distinction between labor immigrants and refugee immigrants. Coming with pre-settlement adversities, refugees face various post-settlement challenges while integrating into the host communities. Though the host societies try to facilitate labour market integration among refugees through settlement programs and integration policies, they still face structural barriers that act as obstacles in achieving economic integration. Due to cultural, economic, and political differences within the host societies, the factors/processes that influence the labor market success of refugees are not likely to be the same. The lack of economic integration of refugees is associated with many other issues like joining gangs or criminal activities, welfare dependency, safety and security. In this round-table discussion, we aim to get a global perspective on these different obstacles that the refugees face while entering the labour market and what integration strategies should be adopted to rid the market of obstacles to integration. Knowledge of local language, education, appropriate professional and vocational skills are considered essential requirements for labour market integration which, in case of refugees, act as deterrents to integration. Refugees may lack employable human capital resources and therefore they tend to remain mostly unemployed or in low paid, low skilled jobs. Questions such as, what are the different ways that the host society prevents refugees from entering the labour market?; what strategies can be adopted to increase refugee employability as well as measures to overcome personal and structural barriers to the labour market integration?; etc. will be discussed. From this round-table, we will think globally to inculcate strategies for acting locally.