Download publication

External Publication

The economic effects of refugee return and policy implications

This paper looks at the question of returning asylum seekers and refugees from the economic perspective in the advanced countries that receive refugees: is return in their economic interest?

By: Date: November 14, 2017 Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance

This publication was originally published by OCP Policy Centre

According to the European Union over a million rejected asylum seekers have been ordered to return to their country of origin from Europe alone, or will be soon. To these could be added refugees that have been given temporary shelter but who could be asked to return once conditions in their home country improve. The debate on returning asylum seekers and refugees is nearly always cast in political, legal and humanitarian terms. This paper looks at the question of return strictly from the economic perspective in the advanced countries that receive refugees: is return in their economic interest? Considering all the main economic dimensions – fiscal, economic growth and labor market impact – the answer, for most advanced countries is no. The costs of hosting refugees are front-loaded, while the benefits of hosting them, which are considerable, only accrue over time.

The paper also argues that – on economic grounds alone –mass voluntary return of refugees to their country of origin is highly unlikely even when conditions improve. Development agencies can help countries that are the largest source of refugees recover once conflicts abate and help prevent new refugee crises occurring in the future. However, the expectation that they will promote the return of refugees is unrealistic. Development agencies should not place refugee return as a central objective of their efforts.

View comments
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

Mar
5
12:30

Saving the right to asylum

How can we improve the European asylum policy?

Speakers: Elina Ribakova, Marc-Olivier Padis and Jean-Paul Tran Thiet Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The EU needs a Brexit endgame

Britain and the EU must try to preserve the longstanding economic, political, and security links and, despite the last 31 months spent arguing over Brexit, they should try to follow a new path toward convergence.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 31, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

What does a possible no-deal Brexit mean?

With Brexit getting closer, it is still extremely difficult to predict which one of the possible outcomes will materialise. Guntram Wolff examines what exactly it would mean for the UK to 'crash out' of the EU, for both parties.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 24, 2019
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

External Publication

Vertical restraints and e-commerce

This article wishes to provide guidance on how the new vertical restraints linked to e-commerce should be treated and recommendations over the priorities and challenges that need to be addressed.  

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: January 15, 2019
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Immigration: The doors of perception

Surveys show that people systematically overestimate the share of foreign-born citizens among resident populations. Aligning people's perceptions with reality is vital to the betterment of public debate and proposed policies.

By: Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 12, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

The great macro divergence

Global growth is expected to continue in 2019 and 2020, albeit at a slower pace. Forecasters are notoriously bad, however, at spotting macroeconomic turning points and the road ahead is hard to read. Potential obstacles abound.

By: Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: December 5, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Youth unemployment: Common problem, different solutions?

Youth unemployment is a major obstacle to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s human and economic development. In this blog post, Uri Dadush and Maria Demertzis go into the factors behind the its surge.

By: Uri Dadush and Maria Demertzis Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 29, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Opinion

Italy’s floods: How the European Union Solidarity Fund can help

The authors discuss Italy's potential recourse to disaster relief from the European Union Solidarity Fund in the wake of recent floods, focusing specifically on how much aid Italy might expect and under what terms.

By: Antoine Mathieu Collin and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: November 23, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Director’s cut: What Syrian refugees need to return home

This episode of the Director’s Cut features a conversation between Bruegel’s director, Guntram Wolff and Maha Yahya, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: November 15, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Director’s Cut: Options yet open for a Brexit deal

Robin Niblett, director of Chatham House institute, joins Bruegel deputy director Maria Demertzis for an assessment of what progress can be reasonably expected from the final months of the Brexit negotiations.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: November 7, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Post-Brexit transfers of personal data: The clock is ticking

The UK government would like to keep EU-UK data transfers largely the same following the country's separation from the EU. But talks have yet to even commence on a future data-sharing relationship, and a landmark European Court of Human Rights ruling in September bodes poorly for the UK's future status under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: November 7, 2018
Read article More on this topic

External Publication

Reconciling contradictory forces: financial inclusion of refugees and know-your-customer regulations

The authors contributed to the new issue of the 'Journal of Banking Regulation' with a paper on financial inclusion initiatives and banking regulations necessary to provide access to financial services for asylum seekers and refugees.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Uuriintuya Batsaikhan and Inês Goncalves Raposo Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: October 30, 2018
Load more posts