Locked Down and Left Behind: The Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees’ Economic Inclusion (with Helen Dempster, Jimmy Graham, Martha Guerrero Ble, Daphne Jayasinghe, and Barri Shorey)

Refugees living in low- and middle-income countries are especially vulnerable to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on data from eight hosting countries before COVID-19, we find that refugees are 60 percent more likely than host populations to be working in highly impacted sectors, such as accommodation and food services, manufacturing, and retail. As a result, COVID-19 will likely lead to widespread loss of livelihoods and an increase in poverty among refugee populations. These impacts will be exacerbated by the fact that COVID-19 has made it more difficult for refugees to access the labor market, social safety nets, and aid provided by humanitarian organizations. Going forward, as refugee-hosting countries face looming economic recession, increasing unemployment, and rising xenophobia, there will be increased skepticism of refugees’ economic inclusion. This paper explores these issues and argues expanded economic inclusion is in the best interests of refugees, their host populations, and their host countries. It also provides a series of recommendations for refugee-hosting countries to safeguard refugee livelihoods in the short- and long-term.

Media Coverage: Reuters, Voice of America


Restricting Mobility Will Not Stop the Next Pandemic (with Michael Clemens and Reva Resstack)

Moving beyond COVID-19, there are important domestic and international regulations that can help save lives in a future pandemic. Restricting global mobility in the meantime—and foregoing all of its benefits—is not one of them.

Including Immigrants is Good Policy Not Just During the Pandemic, but Afterwards Too (with Janeen Madan Keller)

Inclusive policy changes spurred by COVID-19 have so far been limited and temporary, but as governments chart a path to recovery, immigrants and citizens alike would benefit from their extension well beyond the pandemic. This blog highlights two areas—access to the labor market and healthcare—where pandemic-related inclusive responses for immigrants should continue, expand, and pave the way for long-run positive change.