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In today’s crisis of forced displacement, more people are in need and situations of displacement are increasingly protracted. Refugees now spend an average of 10 years away from their home countries, and the vast majority of refugees are hosted by developing countries. The solution cannot only be traditional short-term humanitarian aid. Longer-term development interventions and solutions are needed. With the right policies, refugees can meaningfully contribute to their host communities so everyone wins. CGD devises practical solutions so host countries, aid donors, humanitarian and development agencies, the private sector, and civil society can forge new partnerships that enable refugees and their hosts thrive together.
Our previous research, Are Refugees Located Near Job Opportunities? reveals that there are as many as 2.1 million working-age refugees in major urban areas in developing countries. However, in most developing countries, refugees lack the right to work and own a business, and face a variety of other barriers to employment such as limited freedom of movement. CGD’s Michael Clemens, Cindy Huang, and Jimmy Graham have produced a new working paper and policy brief—The economic and fiscal effects of granting refugees formal labor market access—that finds granting refugees formal labor market access has the potential to create substantial benefits for refugees and their hosts. These include greater productivity, increased tax revenues and incomes for hosts, and greater economic security and stability for refugees. Join us for a discussion of the central findings of the paper and recommended policies that can facilitate these benefits and mitigate potential costs.