What Works for Improving Refugee Outcomes in High-Income Countries? Policy Insights for the UK

Published 27 January 2021 / By Isabel Ruiz & Carlos Vargas-Silva

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There is a growing body of evidence showing that refugees face significant challenges in terms of integration in the host country and that they are at a substantial disadvantage compared to other migrants when looking at their different socioeconomic outcomes (Bevelander, 2011; Ruiz and Vargas-Silva, 2018; Fasani et al., 2019; Brell et al., 2020). While much of the discussion around this evidence has focused on understanding the reasons for these outcomes, not enough discussion has centred on analysing and discussing what works in terms of improving the outcomes of refugees, particularly the potential of early interventions and related policy changes in this context. This is important for the formulation of informed policies in this area. Refugees are often less likely to return home compared to other migrant groups (Borjas 1987; Cortes 2004) and, therefore, there is a potentially higher long term payoff of early investments in this group. This report provides a discussion of the evidence on early interventions and related policy changes that affect the outcomes of refugees.

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