“Allowing more immigration of refugees would be good both for refugees and for the economies they come to.”

life-vest-941942_1920.jpg

A refugee is someone who has been forced to leave their home in order to escape war, persecution or a natural disaster.

Recently many refugees have been leaving countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, in order to escape the wars that have been going on there. The top destinations for where the refugees will emigrate to are Switzerland, Germany, the UK and Canada. Due to the large amounts of migration that is currently occurring, it can bring both advantages and disadvantages to the refugees and the economies they come to.


Firstly, there are benefits for the refugee when coming to another country. The refugee will have prospects of a higher wage and there will be more job opportunities for them as the country they seek refuge in will be more stable and have a stronger economy. This will mean they can achieve a higher standard of living and have a more comfortable lifestyle.

For example, in Afghanistan the average wage is $410 per year, whereas in the UK, a country where Afghan refugees could move to, the average wage is $35,000 showing just how much more they could earn. Also, another advantage of allowing more immigration of refugees is that the cultural and ethnic diversity of the country is broadened, meaning that social barriers between different groups is reduced and the country becomes a more multicultural place to live.

In 2011, 13% of the entire UK population were not white, and allowing more refugees in could increase this number, showing how it is a benefit to create a more accepting society.
On the other hand, the increase in the number of refugees entering countries could bring disadvantages, one being that the migrants may be exploited in the new country. This is because as they enter as a refugee they are in a vulnerable position and so people would possibly make them work for low wages, meaning that although they are safe from persecution they cannot live comfortably. Hence by allowing more refugees into the country it would only worsen the problem as there are now more chances that they will be exploited while trying to work.

Another problem that refugees may face is the increase pressure on social provision causing them to not have efficient access to healthcare, schools etc. Due to many migrants entering the country, the area may not be able to provide for all of them as well as the existing population, so social resources may start to become scarce. This in turn could cause community tension and cause a divide between the population and the refugees, as they would feel that the immigrants are causing too much pressure on social services, an example in the UK would be too much pressure on the NHS, causing it to fail.


While there are benefits and drawbacks for the migrants, there are also effects on the economy that migrants have. One positive effect on the economy that they have is that refugees will fill job vacancies and skill gaps in the economy, so by allowing more refugees into a country, more of the gaps can be filled. This will therefore mean that the country’s economic growth will increase, as there are now more people who are economically active.

For example, in the first quarter of 2017, UK economic growth was only 0.2%, so by allowing more refugees in who will fill gaps in the economy could help provide a much needed boost to the economy. Another advantage to economies is that as many of the refugees are of working age, they can help reduce the effects of an ageing population in the countries that go to, such as the UK and Japan. This is because as they work, they will pay income tax and will give the government more revenue, which they can then use to help fund pensions, care homes etc. for the elderly, meaning the burden and costs of an ageing population are reduced. 


However, more refugees can also bring disadvantages to the economy, one being that wages are depressed in low wage and low skill sectors. This is because refugees are willing to work for less, hence they will be more likely to be employed as it will reduce the cost of production for the firm, in turn displacing others who won’t work at the wage rate.

Consequently, this could see some turn to benefits as they feel that that is a better source of income than working at a low wage, meaning that unemployment levels could increase and the government would have to spend more on the welfare state to look after those who are unemployed. So while the refugees may find this advantageous, for the economy as a whole it will cause more unemployment to develop.

Another disadvantage to the economy is that refugees are expensive to take in due to the large amount of financial support they require. For example, each refugee can claim up to £8,520, and if you have children you can claim a further £4500 per child. The refugees are also entitled to council housing. This shows that overall the cost of taking in many refugees is an expensive one and in the long term the costs can be quite high. The UK is planning to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020, and by this time the cost of more refugees to the economy could take a long time to pay off. 


To conclude, I think that allowing more immigration of refugees is good to an extent for the refugees and the economies they come to. This is because it depends on which country they are moving to, as if it is an MEDC such as the UK or Canada then the refugee will have better prospects due to the economic stability of the country.

Also, it depends on the stage of the economic cycle the country is in, as this will determine how many opportunities are open to the refugee. For example, in the UK unemployment is currently at its lowest rate of 4.5%, hence this shows that refugees would be more likely to be employed as there is more confidence in the economy. Furthermore, while refugees are expensive to an economy, over time they will be able to pay back their costs through working and paying tax contributions to the government.

However, this depends on how economically valuable the refugee is to the country. Therefore a better method of allowing refugees into the country would be to have a point system, where if they match the relevant skills needed by the country they are allowed to enter.

Finally, while more refugees could create unemployment in lower skilled sectors, they will also help reduce wage inflation, which is good for the economy of the country as it will help achieve stable and low inflation rate. So overall I believe that allowing more refugees into a country is good to an extent.