Myth: Most refugees restart their lives comfortably in new countries.
Fact: Less than 1% of refugees are resettled into new countries.
The notion that admitting refugees will ruin a host country’s economy is rooted in disproved 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.