In 1990, economist David Carr published a groundbreaking research paper in the Industrial and Labor Relations Review Journal about the economic impact of the Mariel Boatlift as Cubans fled the island nation under the dictatorship of Fidel Castro. It so happens that the Miami labor market increased by seven percent as a result of the influx of Cuban refugees. Looking at the South Florida economy since the late 1980s, the region seems to have prospered at a solid rate.
In Denmark, an influx of refugees that took place from the 1990s until 2008 showed that there was an initial impact suffered by the local unskilled workforce, which experienced competition due to lower wages. However, as the refugees settled into the job market, Danish workers eventually sought higher paying employment. The International Monetary Fund has already estimated that European nations that have thus far shouldered most of the burden of the current Syrian refugee crisis will impact gross domestic product by less than 0.20 percent.
The massive refugee camp of Dadaab in Kenya is home to about 500,000 Somalis from various ethnic minorities. This camp is managed by the United Nations, and it is the best example of how a local economy can thrive while serving as a haven for foreign refugees. The three major positive factors benefiting Dadaab are employment of locals by the UN, livestock sales, and personal services. These three activities have injected $14 million to the local economy.
Early research on the impact of Syrian refugees in Turkey and some parts of Europe thus far indicate that their presence has not brought about negative economic consequences. In fact, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has issued projections of long-term economic benefit to Turkey, particularly in the regions where Syrian refugees have settled. In the end, if Turkey, an OECD member nation, can administer refugee programs to benefit regional economies, so can their fellow OECD member nation, the United States.
In the end, there is sufficient evidence that proves refugees provide economic benefits to their new communities despite the initial concerns about expenditures on relief services.
If you or someone you know needs help filing the correct visa, has questions about consulate processing, or wishes to become a naturalized U.S. citizen, reach out to KS Visa Law, a trusted San Diego immigration law firm.
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