Yesterday on ‘In the Balance’ on the BBC World Service, Professor Alexander Betts took part in a discussion of the economics consequences for countries of taking in refugees. He stated that economists have generally not examined issues relating to refugees, so data is lacking on the impact of refugees and asylum seekers. However, the RSC has been undertaking research on the economic lives of refugees and their contributions. This research began by looking at the situation in Uganda, which has a policy of allowing refugees the right to work and freedom of movement. The RSC’s research here has shown that, with socioeconomic rights, refugees can make an enormous contribution.
Professor Betts added that we need more data for Europe, but “there is a lot to suggest that with the right policies, people can make a contribution… their ability to contribute is likely to be shaped by our institutions, our laws and our policies.” He also argued that any negative effects of refugees, for example on wages for the low skilled, can be mitigated and managed by government policies.