Myth: Refugee influxes ruin economies.
Fact: Studies show refugees can have long-term positive or neutral effects on national economies.
The notion that admitting refugees will ruin a host country’s economy is rooted in false economic ideas. For example, critics peddle the belief that refugees will take jobs away from the native population, thereby increasing poverty and unemployment. Additionally, the nativist argument claims, refugees present a huge burden on public resources, without creating economic value themselves.
In reality, studies have shown that refugee influxes have positive or neutral effects on host country economies in the long term. After the initial high cost of resettlement, refugees start businesses, pay taxes, and are active contributors to their communities. Refugees also create additional demand, since they add to the consumer base for food, accommodations, and infrastructure. Thus, some experts say that accepting refugees is akin to making a “lucrative investment,” according to the Washington Post. The International Rescue Committee reported that 85% of refugees resettled by the IRC were employed within 180 days of their arrival. Over time, refugees add more value to the economy than the initial cost of resettlement. In terms of taking jobs from the domestic population, studies show that low-skilled foreign workers and low-skilled domestic workers tended to complement each other, rather than compete. Additionally, refugees have a higher likelihood of starting their own business than other groups.
Still, refugees can only contribute to their host country’s economy if they are able to work legitimately. Many of the displaced persons NaTakallam works with are barred from employment due to legal restrictions – leaving them vulnerable to black market, dangerous work. NaTakallam allows refugees to make an income legitimately, and safely, regardless of their location.