#LetThemWork: Improving Refugees and Forced Migrants’ Socio-Economic Wellbeing
A joint initiative that examines the barriers that refugees and forced migrants face in achieving economic and social inclusion within host countries
About the Project
Most of the world’s 29 million refugees and forced migrants lack the ability to freely work, move, and thrive. The #LetThemWork initiative, a partnership with Refugees International, combines research, outreach, and policy engagement to understand these barriers and overcome them

The #LetThemWork initiative has four thematic pillars, under which we will conduct research, outreach, and policy engagement:

  1. Sustainable Financing. International aid actors have increasingly sought out more transparency and accountability in refugee financing, as well as ways to seek out durable solutions to long-term displacement. Financing institutions and development actors have taken on more direct roles in working with refugees. We want to explore the best way to support refugee crises in the long-term.
  2. Physical Location. Humanitarians are currently experimenting with two new approaches to assisting refugees with shelter: (1) hybrid settlements, where additional housing is constructed near cities and towns; and (2) relocation, where displaced people are assisted in their movement to areas with more economic growth. We want to explore which countries are experimenting with these models and evaluate their impact.
  3. Climate. Refugees and displaced people often work in economic sectors that have a high sensitivity to climate change. Despite this, climate change is rarely factored into refugee and displaced peoples’ job prospects. Similarly, refugees are rarely factored into national adaptation plans and climate adaptation financing. We want to explore these connections.
  4. Social Cohesion and Public Attitudes. Host community attitudes affect refugee outcomes through daily economic and social interactions, and affect the politics and policies enacted by host governments. However, we have little data about public attitudes within these refugee hosting countries, and little understanding of ‘what works’ to promote social cohesion between refugees and hosts. We want to explore both of these issues.

Blogs

  • CGD and Refugees International Launch Phase II of the #LetThemWork Initiative
  • As Crises in Cameroon Deepen, Protecting Refugee Rights is Paramount
    Cameroon has long welcomed people fleeing crisis, and today hosts a diverse population of more than 460,000 refugees, asylum-seeke...
  • Refugees’ Work Rights Around the World
    Today we published the 2022 Global Refugee Work Rights Report, a joint report with Asylum Access and Refugees International that d...
  • How Multinationals Are Working with the Private Sector
    Allan Mukuki et al.
    In June 2022, the #LetThemWork initiative partnered with the East African Centre for Forced Migration and Displacement to hold a w...
  • World Refugee Day: Five Things We’re Watching in 2022
    On World Refugee Day, June 20, we look at some of the trends from the past year and explore what global decision makers need to fo...
  • With Simple Workforce Policy Changes
    Meredith Owen et al.
    This is one in a series of blog posts exploring the issues refugees and forced migrants face in accessing jobs and economic inclus...
  • The Impacts of the Work Ban on UK Asylum Seekers
    This blog is part of CGD and Refugee International’s #LetThemWork initiative and written in conjunction with Refugee Action. It is...
  • Why UK Asylum Seekers Don’t Have the Right to Work
    This blog is part of CGD and Refugee International’s #LetThemWork initiative and written in conjunction with Refugee Action. It is...
  • With US Withdrawal, Afghan Refugee Rights in Pakistan Hang in the Balance
    With the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, it is likely that the Pakistani government will see new refugee movements. The g...
  • Venezuelan Economic Integration Would Yield Huge Benefits; Donors Should Fund It
    More than 5.5 million Venezuelans have fled socio-economic and institutional collapse, high levels of insecurity, human rights vio...
  • Why Colombia Granted Full Rights to its 1.7M Venezuelans
    The Government of Colombia has been incredibly generous towards this population, enacting several rounds of work permits which gra...
  • Few Rights and Little Progress: The Rohingya in Bangladesh
    Last month, the Bangladeshi government began moving Rohingya refugees from camps in Cox’s Bazar to Bhasan Char, a remote and flood...
  • Venezuelans Can Bolster Economic Recovery and Stability in Peru
    New research by Refugees International and the Center for Global Development (CGD) finds that Venezuelans in Peru face major barri...
  • Five Years Later, One Million Refugees Are Thriving in Germany
    In 2015, large numbers of refugees fleeing war and terrorism in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq arrived on Europe’s shores. Fear and ...
  • Supporting Refugees Will Help the Private Sector Recover
    The COVID-19 recession has exacerbated the need for economic inclusion to prevent the most vulnerable from falling into poverty an...

Publications

  • 2022 Global Refugee Work Rights Report
    Refugees’ right to work has been repeatedly recognized in international agreements and research continues to demonstrate the benef...
  • Overcoming Barriers to Venezuelan Women’s Inclusion
    This paper aims to present the main barriers Venezuelan women face to access to the labor market and participation in Colombia.
  • How Kenya Can Create Shared Growth by Facilitating Economic Inclusion for Refugees
    Since the early 1990s, Kenya has hosted hundreds of thousands of refugees from across East Africa. Despite instances of refoulemen...
  • How Ethiopia Can Create Shared Growth through Refugees' Economic Inclusion
    This case study is part of the “Let Them Work” initiative by Refugees International (RI) and the Center for Global Development (CG...
  • COVID-19 on the Economic Inclusion of Venezuelans in Peru
    This policy paper, part of the “Let Them Work” initiative, outlines how the Government of Peru, donors, international organization...
  • How Peru Can Transform Venezuelan Displacement into Shared Growth
    This case study is part of the “Let Them Work” initiative by Refugees International (RI) and the Center for Global Development (CG...
  • The Effect of COVID-19 on Venezuelans in Colombia
    This policy paper, part of the “Let Them Work” initiative, outlines the impact of COVID-19 on Colombians and Venezuelans alike, ex...
  • How Colombia Can Transform Venezuelan Displacement into Shared Growth
    This case study is part of the “Let Them Work” initiative by Refugees International (RI) and the Center for Global Development (CG...
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Refugees’ Economic Inclusion
    Refugees living in low- and middle-income countries are especially vulnerable to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ba...

Media Mentions

  • New Study: Refugees Restricted from Working in At Least 32 Countries, Limiting their Ability to Support Themselves and Contribute to Host Country
    Refugees’ right to work has been repeatedly affirmed in international law, yet in practice the majority of the world’s refugees li...

Events

  • Expanding Labor Market Access
    The #LetThemWork Initiative Workshop has been organized as a platform to discuss and enhance the policy advocacy on possible publi...
  • Overcoming Barriers to Venezuelan Women’s Inclusion and Participation in Colombia’s Labor Market
    This event, organized by The Right to Not Obey, a project of the Otraparte Corporation and the Center for Global Development (CGD)...
  • Desde el desplazamiento al desarrollo: Retos y oportunidades para refugiados y migrantes en Perú
    La crisis humanitaria que vive Venezuela es considerada una de las principales crisis del desplazamiento forzado en la región. Con...
  • Displacement to Development: Economic Inclusion of Venezuelans in Colombia
    In the past years, the economic, political, and social collapse of Venezuela has pushed over 5 million Venezuelans to seek protect...
  • Refugees and forced migrants can be immense economic contributors to the host communities where they settle. However, to maximize ...
  • Expanding Labor Market Access
    The #LetThemWork Initiative Workshop has been organized as a platform to discuss and enhance the policy advocacy on possible publi...
  • Overcoming Barriers to Venezuelan Women’s Inclusion and Participation in Colombia’s Labor Market
    This event, organized by The Right to Not Obey, a project of the Otraparte Corporation and the Center for Global Development (CGD)...
  • Desde el desplazamiento al desarrollo: Retos y oportunidades para refugiados y migrantes en Perú
    La crisis humanitaria que vive Venezuela es considerada una de las principales crisis del desplazamiento forzado en la región. Con...
  • Displacement to Development: Economic Inclusion of Venezuelans in Colombia
    In the past years, the economic, political, and social collapse of Venezuela has pushed over 5 million Venezuelans to seek protect...
  • Refugees and forced migrants can be immense economic contributors to the host communities where they settle. However, to maximize ...

Contact

For more information, contact czimmer@cgdev.org

Contact

For more information, contact czimmer@cgdev.org

Experts

Cassandra Zimmer
Cassandra Zimmer is a program associate for the Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy program at CGD. She graduated from American University with a BA in International S...
Helen Dempster
Helen Dempster is a policy fellow and assistant director for the Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy Program at the Center for Global Development. Prior to joinin...
Reva Resstack
Reva Resstack was a research assistant working with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn, supporting their work on migration and displacement. Before joining CGD, Resstack worked as an ...
Thomas Ginn
Thomas Ginn is a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he studies migration and displacement. His current research focuses on aid for refugees in lower-income...

Experts

  • Cassandra Zimmer
    Cassandra Zimmer is a program associate for the Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy program at CGD. She graduated from American University with a BA in International S...
  • Helen Dempster
    Helen Dempster is a policy fellow and assistant director for the Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy Program at the Center for Global Development. Prior to joinin...
  • Reva Resstack
    Reva Resstack was a research assistant working with Michael Clemens and Thomas Ginn, supporting their work on migration and displacement. Before joining CGD, Resstack worked as an ...
  • Thomas Ginn
    Thomas Ginn is a research fellow at the Center for Global Development, where he studies migration and displacement. His current research focuses on aid for refugees in lower-income...

Acknowledgments

CGD and Refugees International would like to acknowledge the generous support and engagement of the IKEA Foundation.