Allowing refugees to work or not?

Policies and the economic integration of refugees in the EU

Authored by: Sonja Fransen , Kim Caarls

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses the economic integration of refugees in Europe and reviews policies and practices regarding asylum seekers’ and refugees’ right to work. Asylum seekers and refugees generally fare worse on European job markets compared to native populations and other immigrant groups, making them among the most vulnerable populations in the European employment market. However, significant differences in labour market outcomes exist across countries, and countries differ substantially in terms of their policies and practices regarding labour market integration for these groups. Whereas some countries have extensive experience in hosting asylum seekers and refugees and have implemented comprehensive policies to facilitate their economic integration, other countries have only recently experienced increased inflows and have implemented weaker or fewer policy instruments. This chapter discusses the empirical evidence on the relation between asylum and integration policies and the labour market outcomes of refugees, and other key factors that determine how refugees fare on the labour market.

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