Denial of the right to work to refugees

Other Names:
Inability of refugees to obtain employment

The rights of refugees do not stop with determination of status and admission for asylum purposes. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts: "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment". Refugees frequently do not enjoy this right. Many countries place serious legal and practical obstacles before refugees who wish to work. They are treated as aliens, or even illegal immigrants, often confined to closed camps under harsh conditions and thereby denied legal and practical access to the job market. The drawn-out nature of procedures for determining their refugee status, sometimes a deliberate unofficial policy to deter applications, prevents access to work opportunities up to two years. Even where employment rights are enjoyed, working can depend on prevailing official attitudes. In the majority of countries where refugees may work, work permits are required. This requirement is often used to curtail work options through limiting work permits both in duration and in scope, i.e. to a specific job only. The annual cost of the permit is, in some instances, a further inhibiting factor. Some refugees experience discrimination in employment or exploitation as a source of cheap manual labour. The widespread requirement that diplomas or degrees be recognized, be validated or be subject to reciprocal acceptance frequently discriminates against professionals.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST