Refugees: are jobs the answer?
Marta Foresti @martaforesti - Managing Director, ODI
Alexander Betts @alexander_betts - Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, University of Oxford
Heaven Crawley @heavencrawley - Chair in International Migration, CTPSR, Coventry University and Research Associate, ODI
Manjula Luthria @WorldBank - Global Focal Point for Migration, Social Protection Labor and Jobs Global Practice, World Bank
Sayre Nyce @sayrenyce - Executive Director, Talent Beyond Boundaries
<p>Nearly 90% of the world’s refugees are hosted in countries that neighbour their homeland. Countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Ethiopia, already struggling to provide economic opportunities for their citizens, also need to cope with a large number of new arrivals. Many governments rely on the humanitarian aid system to support refugees, and restrict refugees participation in the labour market. This restriction has, for many, led to an <a href="https://www.odi.org/publications/10728-journeys-hold-how-policy-influenc... of skills and aspirations</a>, and has exacerbated feelings of alienation and hopelessness. It is therefore not hard to imagine why some would attempt onward, often more dangerous, migration.</p><p>To address this problem, some important innovations are currently underway. This includes the creation of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) – areas where business and trade laws differ from the rest of the country in order to attract trade, investment and, therefore, jobs. Refugees could be given the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/22/why-denying-refugees-the-ri... to work</a> within those zones and contribute to the economy of the host country. Yet, not everyone agrees that SEZs can address the problems facing the world’s refugees. Firstly, there is the <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7648/full/544026a.html">poten... for exploitative and low-wage labour</a> which is unmatched to the skills, aspirations and needs of refugees. Secondly, a focus on ‘jobs’ may distract governments from the pressing need to provide protection for those fleeing conflict, persecution and human rights abuses. </p><p>Join us as our expert panel debates these issues.</p>