Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration

There is a large literature on the labour market impacts of migration. Most of this literature deals with "voluntary" migration that involves individuals who move to take advantage of new opportunities in other countries. However, a non-trivial share of global international migration is "forced" migration, that is, people moving to escape violence, conflict or oppression in their home countries. The United Nations Population Division suggests that from the total global stock of 232 million international migrants in 2013, about 16 million (6.8%) were refugees. Recent years have seen an important increase in forced migration and the global number of forced migrants is at its highest peak in decades.

Labour markets have important implications for long-term development after an episode of forced migration in low-income countries. Adequate work opportunities provide individuals with income, self-worth and reduce social isolation. The ability to work is one of the main assets of the poor in low-income countries. As such, labour market impacts should be one of the main considerations of international organizations and national governments when dealing with a forced migration crisis and developing policies to respond to such crisis. There has been little analysis of the implications of forced migration on labour markets. This lack of analysis affects humanitarian and developmental policy and programme design.

The Labour Market Impacts of Forced Migration (LAMFOR) is a COMPAS project at the University of Oxford in partnership with Maastricht University that aims to provide unique statistical evidence on the labour market implications of forced migration situations. The project looks at two different case studies in the African Great Lakes Region: forced migration in and from Burundi (main component of the project) and forced migration to Tanzania.