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Economic Impact of Refugees on Neighboring Countries

impact of refugees on neighboring countries
Refugees taking asylum within other countries’ borders affect the economy of the host country and surrounding countries. People fleeing usually choose neighboring countries of their homeland, some of these being lower-income developing countries. While the effects are varying, several outcomes influence the economy of the host country in a positive manner and indirectly act as an economic impact of refugees on neighboring countries.


Education for Refugees

One such outcome is the development of education for refugees. This provides education for children in the host country that originally could not obtain such an opportunity. The use of international aid organizations has furthered the building of schools and training of teachers. These organizations seek to invest in the host countries development to ensure that the needs of the refugees are met, and thus bolstering that country’s economy.

Each individual person seeking asylum also brings a skill from home to the new country. As unemployed refugees come, there are a variety of skills and occupational backgrounds that are also brought — for instance, doctors, lawyers, nurses and carpenters. This influx of vocational skills can alleviate issues of a demographic crisis or an in-country population decrease.


Refugee Economic Status

Establishing desirable economic status as an individual provides an economic gain to the country and allows refugees to more easily integrate or move into other surrounding countries. An economic gain to the host country in the form of a working-class can result in positive economic impacts on neighboring countries.

Economic stimulus for the host country can further be developed through local food purchase, non-food items such as shelter materials, disbursements made by aid workers and assets brought by refugees. Purchasing products from neighboring countries is another of the positive impact of refugees on neighboring countries.


Refugee Strain on Infrastructure and Foreign Aid

A large influx of refugees to host countries does strain the country’s current economic infrastructure and call for emergency financial assistance. In a case study done on the 1999 Kosovar refugees, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank estimated that host countries needed $52 to $188 million to appropriately deal with humanitarian needs. To accomplish this, these countries often look to developed countries to provide foreign aid.

Foreign aid given by countries can help increase the host country’s economy while also providing a peaceful presence to aid the in-need nation. Aid simultaneously benefits the receiving countries economy and the giving-country’s future economic gain and presence in foreign affairs.

Although hosting a large population of refugees can create a burden (especially on developing countries), the positive impact of refugees on neighboring countries is extremely apparent. These benefits provide an incentive to give asylum to those fleeing from conflict.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: Flickr