A Jobs and Development Conference was held at the Word Bank in Washington DC on November 2 – 3, 2016. It was organized by the Network on Jobs and Development Group, which is a partnership of five research institutions from around the world, together with the World Bank Jobs Group.
Klaus F. Zimmermann, Princeton University and UNU-MERIT, was one of the invited plenary speakers. His lecture delivered on November 2, 2016 was on
Refugees for Work: The European Migration Challenge
The core of Zimmermann’s talk was:
- Europe feels challenged by a large number of asylum applications. But while significant, the inflow is not as dramatic as often suggested in the public debate. Europe has seen large inflows of migrants earlier, although not of asylum seekers. 80% of the refugees cluster in only four countries, and the actual number of asylum applications are much smaller that perceived in the public.
- Refugees, namely accepted asylum seekers, are allowed to work in their host countries. But they integrate only slowly into the labor force while the hardly harm native workers. They need twenty years to match the labor force participation of other migrant groups. However, this is also the result of regulations that hinder new asylum seekers to take up work after they have filed their asylum application.
- What can countries do to improve the chances of accepted refugees to access the host labor markets successfully? One is early profiling, to already examine at entry what perspectives, talents and needs of further education these potential immigrants have. Another is to allow for early access to work for those who have filed an asylum application while they are waiting for a decision.
Zimmermann, Klaus F., Refugee and Migrant Labor Market Integration: Europe in Need of a New Policy Agenda. Mimeo. Presented at the EUI Conference on the Integration of Migrants and Refugees, 29-30 September 2016 in Florence.
Constant, Amelie F. & Klaus F. Zimmermann, Towards a New European Refugee Policy that Works. Forthcoming 2016: CESifo DICE Report – Journal of International Comparisons. (With A. F. Constant.) UNU – MERIT Working Paper # 2016-062